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The FBI has issued a threat advisory to charitable organizations and nonprofits in the US and Canada. A Nigerian criminal network has already targeted more than two dozen organizations with a sophisticated, multi-step wire fraud scheme with the following steps:

  1. Members of the criminal network use the stolen identity of a genuine foreign businessman and contact the target organization about making a large donation ($100,000 or more).
  2. The fraudsters then mail a fraudulent check to the target (generally with a Canadian postmark) urging them to deposit the check immediately and provide proof of deposit to the donor.
  3. After receiving proof of deposit, the fraudsters contact the victim organization and claim that an error was made and request that some of the initial donation be returned by wire transfer.
  4. The fraudulent check bounces and the victim suffers a legitimate loss of funds due to the timing.

Key lessons and insights: 

  • NEVER wire funds associated with a donation until AFTER all checks have cleared.
  • Verify the identity of the donor when possible via phone or postal mail.
  • Verify the identity of anyone calling on behalf of the donor.
To talk further about your organization's cybersecurity awareness and preparedness, please contact your local UHY professional, or visit us online at