New details released in cyber attack that defrauded Adventist Church of half a million U.S. dollars

| April 10, 2014

New details have been released in the ongoing investigation of a sophisticated cyber theft that defrauded the Seventh-day Adventist Church of approximately US$500,000 during the span of a four-week period late last year. 

Church leaders say a compromised password appears to have allowed online scammers to hack into the Gmail account of a church employee authorized to initiate instructions for money transfers. Impersonating the employee—and unbeknownst to him—the scammers sent emails to financial personnel at Adventist world church headquarters, approving the transfer of funds on behalf of a denominational entity. An elaborate filtration system set up by the scammers marked all responses from headquarters as “read” and “deleted,” thus bypassing the employee’s inbox. 

Meanwhile, the scammers laundered funds from 16 fraudulent transactions through the personal bank accounts of five apparently unwitting victims, church financial officers said.

“We have modified procedures to do our best to prevent anything like this from happening again,” said Robert E. Lemon, treasurer of the Adventist world church.

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Category: Church Security

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