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Toy Maker Mattel Loses $ 3M in BEC Scam, Then Fights and Recovers It


A finance executive became a victim of a phishing scam which saw the maker of Children toys based at Los-Angeles wire a cool $3 million to Chinese hackers. During a period of corporate change, the email reached the inbox of an unnamed executive at the right time and requested to pay an amount of $3 million to a new vendor in China. Mattel has been in a period of change recently resulting appointment of new CEO Christopher Sinclair following the firing of his predecessor - a move helped the fraud artists.

The transfer was completed on a Friday, which was a bank holiday. This gave the company enough time and the money could not be recovered until the bank opened the following Monday. Mattel utilized this time sensibly and they could reclaim the wired cash with the cooperation of Chinese authorities.

Mattel contacted law enforcement and their U.S. bank but were told that it was too late to recover the money. The thieves had struck Mattel just at the right time. Csoonline.com posted on 31st March, 2016 stating that a new CEO had just joined and the company was preparing for enormous growth in China and so payments to China would be quite normal.

The incident could not have happened at a worse time and moreover, Mattel's operations in China had been struggling due to the corporate disturbances and the company was in the process of repositioning itself as a well-known brand in child-development in the country.

It has still not been found that who was the culprit behind the scam and it has been found that AP had seen documents which show that Mattel has tracked minimum dozen more phishing attempts but it looks that Chinese authorities are improving cooperation globally, because they specially pursue corrupt officials of Communist Party who escaped to overseas with illegal gains.

After learning a hard lesson, companies may take a little time to educate their employees about threats of phishing. But it may not likely to happen as companies will continue to ignore the problem expecting it to go away.

Mattel became lucky; phishing scam don't generally end happily.

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