Think getting paid by direct deposit is safe? Saskatoon police say scammers taking advantage

Finance and human resource departments in Saskatoon are the target of a new style of fraud that redirects direct deposit paycheques into a bank account set up by scam artists, according to city police.

The scams can start off with emails that look like they’re coming from a legitimate vendor, or from an email address with the employee’s name in it — but instead of having the company email, it may end with that of a free service like Gmail.

They include a fake request from an employee, often a higher-up, asking to update their bank account and routing information in order to redirect their direct deposit to another account, police say. Oftentimes, there’s a simple link to click to switch over.

Not only is the new account run by fraudsters who could possibly be tricking the person on the other end into revealing personal or confidential information, but if they’re successful, paycheques end up stolen, and employers are on the hook to make sure people get paid, police say.

To avoid this crime, if people get professional-looking emails with requests to change direct deposit banking information, police say to make sure they get verification from the employee first.

That verification can be made verbally or in person.

How they’re evading detection:

  • Emails contain no exclamation marks or poor spelling, and appear professional and cordial. All of this helps them get through spam filters.
  • By using a new email account under the name of the employee and a free service like Gmail, the scammers are able to bypass tools meant to detect hacking attempts on employee emails.

If you’ve received an email like this, police ask you to save it and call them at 306-975-8300.