There is an e-mail scam hitting the South African marketplace at the moment, with fraudsters trying to dupe companies or individuals into allowing control of their e-mail in order to syphon money out of their accounts.

Christopher Riley, CEO of The Notebook Company, comments: “Lots of our clients are being hit by this scam; and from what I can make out there has been a quite a few successful money transfers into fraudsters’ accounts.”

An unsuspecting user receives a fraudulent e-mail, tries to open it, and gets “caught” to enter his username and password on the fraudster’s control Web page.

Riley says the cybercrook then has access to his email. They search his e-mail; pick up where he has sent a request for payment; and then e-mails the user and tell him to pay into another account.

These fraudulent accounts that they have paid into also have no direct link to the cyber-crime attacker. Instead there will be a batch of mule accounts where the money is transferred into. This also makes it extremely hard to track down the transactions and the perpetrators.

“From what I can gauge, there seems to be quite a substantial amount of money syphoned from people’s accounts already,” Riley says.