Barbara Corcoran said she lost nearly $400,000 after her financial team responded to an email that turned out to be a phishing scam.
"This morning I wired $388,000 into a false bank account in Asia," Corcoran told ABC News.
Last week, the millionaire's bookkeeper Christine received an email that appeared to be a routine message from Corcoran's assistant Emily to approve a payment to a German company called FFH Concept.
However, the email in question was never sent from Corcoran's assistant, instead, it was sent from a con artist.
Lesson learned: Be careful when you wire money! https://t.co/ICW7ij9N8V— Barbara Corcoran (@BarbaraCorcoran) February 26, 2020
The bookkeeper at first questioned the payment and asked in her reply, "What is this? Need to know what account to pay out of."
"Someone sends you a bill. It's paid," Corcoran said. "And this one instance, it was not a good strategy."
The crook responded to the bookkeeper with a detailed explanation and as Corcoran said, $388,700.11 was then transferred.
After the fact, Corcoran's team noticed a missing "O" in the "from" address
"When she showed me the emails that went back and forth with the false address, I realized immediately it's something I would have fallen for if I had seen the emails," Corcoran said.
The savvy "Shark Tank" star fell prey to an all too common phishing scam, which is something her fellow shark Robert Herjavec, who made his millions running a tech company, knows all too well.
"85% of all cybercrime across the world comes through email, which is what happened to Barbara," Herjavec said. "This is very, very common. It's been happening of businesses for two, three years now. It's now happening to individuals."
What to know about phishing scams
Herjavec said there are a couple quick best practices people can implement to ensure they don't fall for this kind of deception.
"Always verify that the email is coming from somebody you trust. Get that person to call you," he suggested. "Number two, check your bank statements every single day, because if you catch it within 48 hours, the bank can get it back for you."
We just released the 2020 Cybersecurity Conversations Report with insights on how enterprises can tackle security challenges amidst digital transformations. The level of expertise @HerjavecGroup continues to amaze me ! Check it out here ! https://t.co/rl2ykly655 pic.twitter.com/1SbcNOX9oy— Robert Herjavec (@robertherjavec) January 15, 2020
Unfortunately, the money in Corcoran's case is already gone, but her team traced the original scam emails back to a Chinese IP address and her attorneys are reportedly figuring out next steps.