Shark Tank's Barbara Corcoran fell for an email phishing scam

Anyone can fall for a scam. That’s what Barbara Corcoran of “Shark Tank” wants people to learn after she lost almost $400,000 in a common email phishing scam.

It might be hard to imagine that someone as business savvy as Barbara would so easily let her money walk out the door, but that’s what happened. This self-made NYC real estate mogul knows the value of a dollar. She started off as a waitress before taking a gamble on real estate. Barbara is careful to pay all her bills in a timely manner and she mistook a phishing email as a legitimate bill.

The result: Barbara Corcoran had $388,000 wired to a scammer.

Now she’s sharing her story because she doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else.

Barbara Corcoran Receives Targeted By Scammers

Last week, Barbara’s bookkeeper got an email that appeared to be from the Shark’s assistant, Emily. The email was requesting approval to pay a bill from a German company called FFH Concept.

But, the email was only crafted to appear like it was from Emily.

The bookkeeper asked Barbara for clarification as to what this bill was and what account it should be paid from. Barbara didn’t notice any obviously visible signs that the email was not actually from her assistant, Emily. Modern scammers can be very savvy with their craft.

In this case, the scammer actually responded with an email detailing what the bill was for. Barabara’s focus was on paying her bills, and she wasn’t going to let one this big slip through the cracks. She had no reason to think the email was not legitimate.

The bill detail sounded as if it was on the up and up, and so what many of us would consider a small fortune was wired overseas.

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“Someone sends you a bill. It’s paid,” Barbara Corcoran stated. “And this one instance, it was not a good strategy.”

Shortly after the money was wired, Barbara recognized an O was missing in the from field. She then quickly figured out she was the victim of a phishing scam.

“When she showed me the emails that went back and forth with the false address, I realized immediately it’s something I would have fallen for if I had seen the emails,” the Shark Tank star said.

Protecting Yourself Against Email Phishing Scams

85% of cybercrimes originate from emails. It’s happened to businesses for the past couple years. Now scammers also target individuals.

As the smart and successful businesswoman Barbara Corcoran proves, this can happen to any of us. Her fellow shark Robert Herjavec earned his fortune in the tech industry. He very much understands the tactics and risks of email phishing and other cybercrimes. The Canadian businessman and investor shared some tips for preventing this from happening to you.

“Always verify that the email is coming from somebody you trust. Get that person to call you,” Robert Herjavec recommends. “Number two, check your bank statements every single day, because if you catch it within 48 hours, the bank can get it back for you.”

The phishing emails that targeted Corcoran have been traced to a Chinese IP address. Her attorneys are working on what their next steps will be to retrieve the money.

More information is in the tweeted video below.

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