“Shark Tank” judge Barbara Corcoran lost nearly $400,000 in an elaborate email scam that tricked her staff.
Corcoran said someone acting as her assistant sent an invoice to her bookkeeper earlier this week for a renovation payment. She told People that she had “no reason to be suspicious” about the email because she invests in real estate, so the bookkeeper wired $388,700 to the email address.
The problem was that the email address didn’t belong to her assistant. The scammer imitated her assistant’s email address and misspelled it with one letter. The mistake wasn’t caught until the bookkeeper emailed the assistant’s correct address for a follow-up.
Corcoran said the scammer has “disappeared,” and she acknowledged that she wouldn’t be getting her money back.
“I was upset at first, but then remembered it was only money,” Corcoran told the magazine.
Corcoran’s assistant Emily Burke told CNN Business that the “Shark Tank” star wouldn’t provide any additional comment “at the advisement of her attorneys until the authorities are done investigating.”
However, Corcoran tweeted: “Lesson learned: Be careful when you wire money!” with a link to a TMZ story.
In addition to being an investor and a judge on the hit ABC show, Corcoran formerly owned the global real estate agency that shares her name. She sold it for $66 million in 2001.
Corcoran fell for a phishing scam. It’s common, too: Nearly 30,000 people reported being a victim of that type of scam last year. Together they reported nearly $50 million in losses, according to the FBI’s 2018 Internet Crime Report.
Phishing attacks are common methods of stealing usernames, passwords and money. Hackers pretend to be a trustworthy source to convince you to share personal data. To be safe, it’s important to make sure the sender is authentic before clicking on a link. Google has rolled out security protections that warns people of potential unsafe emails.