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Fraudsters convincing HR employees to divert paycheques: Saskatoon police

Police are warning people about the latest scam targeting direct deposit banking information in Saskatoon.
Police are warning people about the latest scam targeting direct deposit banking information in Saskatoon. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration

The latest scam in Saskatoon involves fraudsters convincing people to change direct deposit information to divert paycheques from employees’ pockets, according to police.

A public advisory from the economic crime unit on Tuesday says scammers are now targeting human resources (HR) and finance departments.

READ MORE: Saskatoon crime severity index top 4 among Canadian cities

The fraudsters are often making contact through phishing emails, according to the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS).

The scam tricks employees into changing the bank account and routing information so that people’s paycheques are deposited into accounts controlled by fraudsters.

Scammers’ emails falsely appear to come from a payroll director or high-profile employee and often say: “I need to update my direct deposit information.”

The fake emails look legitimate, are cordial and well-written, investigators said.

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Using services like Gmail, the scammers create a new email account and fill in the employee’s name, allowing them to bypass tools meant to detect such fraudulent attempts.

WATCH (Aug. 9, 2019): Saskatoon woman’s plans to buy home put on hold by identity theft

Saskatoon woman’s plans to buy home put on hold by identity theft
Saskatoon woman’s plans to buy home put on hold by identity theft

People are advised by police to obtain verification with the actual employee, such as verbal or in-person confirmation, before changing any banking information.

If a similar email is received, people are asked not to respond or engage the sender. Instead, save the phishing email for evidence and contact Saskatoon police at 306-975-8300 or attend SPS headquarters.