Mr. Cocktail victim of “presidential fraud”
Patrice Plante's company will have to absorb the $200,000 lost since this type of fraud is not covered by insurance.
The February 7 is a dark day in the life of Patrice Plante, alias Monsieur Cocktail. That day, fraudsters robbed him of $200,000, jeopardizing the business he took a decade to build.
I cried with rage, launches the entrepreneur Patrice Plante who tells his story to prevent others from being victims of the “fraud of the president”. He first spoke to the daily Le Soleil then to the program Première heure.
The case began in November when the company's email server was hacked. It wasn't until three months later that the scammers struck. On February 7, an employee of the accounting department received a call from a bogus lawyer telling him that Mr. Cocktail was making an international acquisition, that the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) was aware of it and that it had to be kept secret, reports Mr. Plante.
The employee in question received an email from his boss confirming the upcoming transaction. The problem is that the email account had been hacked three months earlier.
“It wasn't an email with a typo, it was literally my company email. ”
— Patrice Plante
The person was under a lot of pressure from this bogus lawyer who called him every 15 minutes. Three hours later, the fraudsters literally emptied our line of credit and our bank account, he says.
A fraudulent, neat-looking email, signed with the name of the president of the company, is sent to employees. It can contain very precise information, which makes the request more credible. Generally a so-called lawyer impersonated by the fraudster takes over to organize and give specific instructions for the transfer of funds.
In some cases, fraudsters communicate by telephone with the controller or accountant of the company to confirm the transaction and ask for personal information about the person who should make the transfer.
Source: Sûreté du Québec
Patrice Plante has been a professional mixologist since 2012. He founded his company a few years later. (File photo)
Scammers use social media months before cracking down to get to know their victims better. They strike when the person is not in full possession of their faculties and create a bubble of benevolence, says Mr. Plante.
Result: $200,000 was stolen from the Quebec company. Within days, the money was gone after being transferred to several countries, Mr. Plante said.
This type of fraud is not covered, since it is not linked to a breach of our regulations, according to the AMF. This is a fraud of a criminal nature and it is the police forces who must be notified, replied by email Sylvain Théberge, director of media relations.
Mr. Cocktail must therefore absorb the losses. To do this, he had to carry out layoffs, among other things. Three people, including the finance employee who authorized the fraudulent transaction, lost their jobs.
The entrepreneur promises that he will recover from this ordeal. It's another challenge on the stack, it's really not the end of the world, he said.
I would like to turn that into a positive to say to all entrepreneurs in Quebec: speak up, he concludes, hoping that his story will raise awareness and prevent others from going through what he went through.
With the collaboration of Camille Carpentier
- Systematically verify with persons in authority within the company before proceeding with a transaction. Particularly if there is an emergency nature.
- Communicate directly with the requester, using the contact details available to the company, and not those indicated in the email of the request.
- Verify the applicant's email address. Generally the fraudulent email is similar to that of the president of the company but contains an additional letter, number or character.
- Put in place a security protocol, such as a confidential password, which thus increases the level of security of the company's transactions.
- Put in place specific procedures and appoint a competent person to allow transfers in an emergency.
- Systematically provide for a counter-call from the bank in the event of a transfer above a certain amount.
- Limit the communication of information on the organization of the company, its organizational chart, the communication of individual information, the company's website, social media.
- Sensitize employees who may be concerned not to provide their personal information, such as copy of driver's license or other document, even if required.
Source : Sûreté du Québec< /em>