AG issues consumer alert about paycheck scam

Published: Feb. 12, 2019 at 11:01 AM CST
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Attorney General Jim Hood is warning state employees that scammers are targeting them to try to reroute direct deposits of employees’ pay to another bank account.

Hood says the scammers are emailing agencies’ human resources directors requesting a direct deposit form. The email appears to come from an employee’s work email address but is actually spoofed.

Hood says in one case, even the email address of a state agency’s executive director was spoofed.

The email indicated that the executive director was changing bank accounts and needed to change the account information on file at the office. When the HR director sent the proper forms to make such a change back to the email address that made the request, the address appeared as a Gmail account. The scammer behind that account quickly replied with the “new” banking information, a fake voided check, and the signed forms.

“Unfortunately, this has happened to a state employee before, where the transaction was completed and the paycheck was deposited into the wrong account. Luckily, last week’s scam was caught in time,” Hood said. “Our cybercrime investigators are tracking this activity, and although they haven’t found evidence of it happening outside of state agencies, we strongly encourage any HR director to always make direct, verbal contact with an employee who appears to be asking for a change in any of their information, especially when it comes to banking account changes.”

Additionally, Hood says a red flag should be raised if an HR director receives a request from an employee asking for their checks to be deposited into a Green Dot account. Green Dot accounts are created by scammers to help them easily receive deposits so they can spend the money like cash.

Anyone who feels they have been targeted by this scam or has information about it should contact the Cyber Crime Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office at 601-576-4281.