Google, Facebook Were Victims of $100M Payment Scam


Facebook and Google were victims of a $100 million (N39bn) phishing scam, which saw employees of the tech companies being tricked into sending money to overseas bank accounts.

In 2013, a Lithuanian man in his forties, Evaldas Rimasauskas allegedly hatched an elaborate scheme to defraud U.S. tech companies. He forged email addresses, invoices, and corporate stamps in order to impersonate a large Asian-based manufacturer with whom the tech firms regularly did business, according to Fortune  .

The aim was to trick companies into paying for computer supplies. The scam worked over a two-year span, the corporate imposter convinced accounting departments at the two tech companies to make transfers worth tens of millions of dollars. By the time the firms figured out what was going on, Rimasauskas had coaxed out over $100 million(N39bn) in payments, which he promptly stashed in bank accounts across Eastern Europe.

In March, the US Department of Justice published an indictment against a Lithuanian man, Evaldas Rimasauskas, for “orchestrating a fraudulent business email compromise scheme that induced two U.S.-based internet companies” to send more than $100 million(N39bn) to bank accounts in his control.

Facebook spokesperson informed that the company recovered the bulk of the funds shortly after the incident and has been cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation.

“We detected this scam against our vendor management team and promptly alerted the authorities. We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved”, said a Google spokesperson.

Rimasauskas, who’s currently awaiting extradition and hasn’t yet been tried, denies the allegations.This case should serve as a wake-up call to all companies, Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said, “Even the most sophisticated — that they too can be victims of phishing attacks by cybercriminals.”