Some of you have already be aware of this, but it is worth repeating. There are scammers out there who are trying to take advantage of a whole host of organizations, including our chapters and state councils. We at SHRM have recently learned about a new and sophisticated phishing scam that is affecting our chapters and state councils.
As is becoming increasingly common in phishing schemes, scammers take public information from the chapter and state council websites (e.g. officer e-mail addresses, information about chapter or state conferences, etc.) and contact the chapter/state council saying that the venue where the event is being held is requiring a payment immediately to get the negotiated discounted pricing. They are using publicly available information to email the scam to chapter and state council treasurers. It looks very authentic.
The scam e-mail generally says something like this:
- Email to treasurer from chapter president or state council director email address. The e-mail address looks like the authentic e-mail address of the chapter president or state council director
- The email says the chapter president or state council director is in a meeting and not available all day, but there is rush business to be taken care of
- The email says that the chapter or state council needs to pay a vendor/hotel/speaker a deposit immediately or it will lose discounted pricing
- Included in the email is wiring instructions to send the money
This has happened to several chapters and state councils and KYSHRM is among those who have been hit. Thanks to the diligence of KYSHRM Treasurer, Patrick Smith, he caught it and no money was sent. Please be sure to use good financial controls and get independent verification before making any payments. Wiring funds is never recommended, as funds are immediately lost and cannot be recovered.
Please warn your management team at your organization that this is occurring in companies too. If your company has a website with information about your officers, you may be hit. Trust me...the e-mails look official and contain email addresses and names of your officers.
Please be sure to inform your Chapter leaders and the members of the State Council.
For guidelines to general financial controls for SHRM chapters, please refer to the “Guide to Chapter Financial Management”. There is a checklist for cash transactions on pages 7 to 9 of the guide. It can be found in the Volunteer Leader Resource Center (VLRC) on SHRM.org. Go to https://community.shrm.org/vlrc/home and put in “Guide to Chapter Financial Management” in the search area.