Hacking scam alert after fraudsters target Dubai construction firm

Construction Machinery Centre boss describes attempted online fraud after customer’s email account was infiltrated

PHOTO: One Dubai company warned regional construction firms to take greater steps to prevent fraud. Credit: Shutterstock

A Dubai-based machinery company has warned of a rise in hackers and online fraudsters targeting the region’s construction sector, after the email systems of one of its customers was allegedly infiltrated.

The Construction Machinery Centre (CMC) said it became the victim of attempted fraud after criminals falsely impersonated one of its representatives in an attempt to extract money from a client.

Joe Lahoud, General Manager of CMC Group, told that there was an “increasing trend” of fraudsters creating email addresses and website domains similar to those used by genuine suppliers, and then communicating with customers posing as official employees.

He referenced one case in which a hacker broke into a client’s private email account and developed an online correspondence impersonating a CMC representative. The customer believed the hackers’ messages to be legitimate.

“The customer’s email system was hacked and they were able to read all the correspondence,” Lahoud said, noting that CMC’s own computer networks were not breached.

The client, which Lahoud did not name, had already received a genuine bill for a five-digit euro sum from CMC. Not realising that they had been contacted by a bogus CMC representative, the customer initiated the transfer to the fraudster’s bank account.

“They hacked [into] our customer’s email system and created a fraud act through impersonating our identity and requesting the transfer to another account than ours,” said Lahoud.

In that instance, the attempted fraud was identified, police were notified and the transfer was successfully blocked.

But while police were able to thwart that particular attempt, Lahoud warned that the problem is widespread and that other companies in the region should take greater steps to prevent fraud.

“I strongly advise you to review your security measures and money transfer procedures. We need better data protection, both at the individual corporate level as well as societal government level, but we also need better detection and response,” he said in an online statement.

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