In June 2014, Keith McMurtry, financial corporate controller for Scoular Co. lost $17 million of the company’s money. And it all started with an email.
McMurtry received a series seemingly innocent messages from Scoular’s CEO, Chuck Elsea, asking him to wire money to a bank account in China. This didn’t raise any concerns for McMurtry as he knew that Scoular was in the process of acquiring a company there.
Each of the three emails McMurtry received asked for a certain amount to be wired to China. Each time, McMurtry complied.
A few days later it was discovered this was all a complicated email phishing scam. In less than a week, Scoular Co had lost $17.2 million to a “whaling” attack – and all that money will never be recovered.