New, sinister scam targeting FIs

A credit union employee picks up the phone. On the other end is the voice of the CEO requesting that money be transferred to a new vendor he says the credit union has just selected. The employee follows orders and makes the transfer. The funds go to a scammer. And the voice of the CEO? It wasn’t the CEO.

Scams targeting CUs aren’t new, but a new ruse is more sinister than ever, and even more difficult to discover. And one security expert believes a new type of “deepfake” crime that leverages artificial intelligence is on the verge of exploding—adding credit unions could be a prime target.

“Credit unions need to watch out because they’re small and they are the types of people who can be easily fooled by this crime,” said Richard Henderson, head of global threat intelligence at Lastline. “This crime is mind-boggling and terrifying.”

As reported, criminals recently used artificial intelligence-based software to impersonate the voice of one company’s CEO to demand a fraudulent transfer of €220,000 ($243,000). Law enforcement said the CEO of the U.K.-based energy firm thought he was on the phone with his boss, the CEO of his company’s German parent company, who was requesting that funds be sent to a supplier in Hungary. The fake-CEO caller said the request was urgent, and he directed the executive to pay within an hour.


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