Earlier this week the FIU head Phil Hunkin sent a warning to government agencies and financial institutions saying that the email fraud attempt requests receivers of the message to send off funds to a Commonwealth Bank (CBA) account in Australia.
The email, potentially targeting government employees, individuals and businesses, gives the appearance of having been sent from the prime minister to Cook Islands Financial Supervisory Commissioner Louise Wittwer, authorising the payment of funds to the CBA.
“I want you to arrange to transfer sum of 26580 AUD from your department.
The funds should be process in today without delay. Please I want it process right away,” the message reads.
The poorly worded email is signed off with, “Regards, Henry Puna”.
The email accounts have been doctored to give them a legitimate appearance.
Hunkin warns members of the public to exercise plenty of caution when being asked to pay money online, especially when requested by email, even if they recognise who the email is from.
He adds, that in this scam the fraudsters have been able to create a plausible email chain that looks authentic and has originated from genuine email addresses.
“Recipients need to be confident they are paying for goods and services that they have requested before paying and businesses should have procedures in place to reduce the risk of fraud.” A police spokesperson says the Cook Islands Police Service is cooperating with the Financial Intelligence Unit to raise awareness of the fraudulent use of email addresses on the government network.