The Merkle

Google and Facebook Lose US$100m in Wire Fraud Scam

It is never positive to learn large technology companies can fall victim to online scams just like everyone else. Earlier this week, both Google and Facebook suffered from a a major scam setting the company’s back about US$100m. It appears someone has impersonated an Asian manufacturer who regularly conducts business with both Google and Facebook.

Impersonation Scam Affects Google and Facebook

This entire story is quite intriguing, to say the least. A man out of Lithuania, going by the name of Evaldas Rimasauskas, successfully impersonated an Asian manufacturer who claimed to work together with both Google and Facebook. It is a mystery as how this effort was pulled off successfully, considering both technology giants should be immune to these types of scams.

By using fake email addresses, bogus invoices, and a few corporate stamps, he successfully convinced the accounting teams of both technology companies into paying outstanding sums of money. The money was transferred over the course of two years, netting the scammer close to US$100m. By the time both companies caught on, it was already too late to prevent the financial losses from happening.

Thankfully, the companies took the necessary steps to launch an official investigation into this matter. Rimasauskas was eventually arrested in March of 2017, even though the DOJ never specified the companies targeted by this individual. Rimasauskas was responsible for impersonating the Quanta Computer company, a manufacturer regularly conducting business with major US tech companies.

It is rather disconcerting to learn accounting departments of technology giants are so gullible. While it is possible the scammer used very convincing invoices – along with the corporate stamps – these money transfers should have never taken place by any means. This also goes to show how using the banking system is still a very lucrative source of revenue for most criminals, as Rimasauskas stored most of the funds in his Eastern European bank account for an extended period of time.

For the time being, the scammer remains in custody in Lithuania, even though lawyers are working on extraditing him to the US. Rimasauskas’ lawyer feels his client will “not get a fair and impartial trial in the US”. Moreover, it appears there are some concerns regarding the behavior of FBI agents involved in the investigation. Moreover, some of Rimasauskas’ computers have been transferred to US law enforcement officials without the presence of the owner.

Wire fraud remains a lucrative business for internet criminals all over the world. It appears Eastern Europe is still a hotbed of such nefarious activity, as local banks do not necessarily disclose information with institutions in other countries. This creates somewhat of a “safe haven” for criminals, who will readily exploit the situation. Even major technology companies can fall victim to these scams, that much is evident.

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