The truth about the scam that cost Barbara Corcoran $400k

Even a shark can fall prey to a fish. Or, rather, one of the stars of Shark Tank can fall victim to a phishing scam. Barbara Corcoran may be known as a business-savvy woman who makes the kinds of decisions that result in millions in earnings, but her team recently made a mistake that cost her a lot of money. 

On Feb. 26, 2020, People reported that a week earlier, Corcoran lost nearly $400,000 when her office received an email that was supposedly “approving the payment for a real estate renovation.” According to the star, “There was no reason to be suspicious as I invest in a lot of real estate.” Corcoran’s bookkeeper sent a wire payment thinking it was going to an assistant, but Corcoran explained that when that same assistant was copied on the email, she “was shocked to see her name on the correspondence.” According to Corcoran, “The detail that no one caught was that my assistant’s email address was misspelled by one letter, making it the fake email address set up by the scammers.”

As for what happens now, it looks like the criminal got away with their scheme and Corcoran will have to move on. “I won’t be getting the money back,” she said. “I was upset at first, but then remembered it was only money.” Granted, Corcoran is worth about $80 million, so it’s not like this is going to ruin her financially, but it’s still something that another shark can help you avoid.

Techy shark Robert Herjavec sinks his teeth into Barbara Corcoran's phishing scam

Barbara Corcoran may not be able to get her money back after her team was phished, but her story could help you protect yourself against the same sort of scam, at least if you take advice from another Shark Tank star, Robert Herjavec. Making millions from his global cybersecurity firm, the Herjavec Group, he spoke out following Corcoran’s admission that she’d been duped.

“85% of all cybercrime across the world comes through email, which is what happened to Barbara,” Herjavec said, per Good Morning America. “This is very, very common. It’s been happening of businesses for two, three years now. It’s now happening to individuals.” 

What can you do to avoid falling prey to a phishing scam like this? “Always verify that the email is coming from somebody you trust. Get that person to call you,” Herjavec said. “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.”

As for Corcoran, she took to Twitter to tell her followers: “Lesson learned: Be careful when you wire money!”

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