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Shark Tank judge Barbara Corcoran loses more than S$500,000 in phishing scam

The businesswoman and investor lost the money to scammers from China who used an email address similar to her assistant’s.

Shark Tank judge Barbara Corcoran loses more than S$500,000 in phishing scam

Businesswomen and Shark Tank judge Barbara Corcoran. (Photo: AFP / Getty Images North America / Amy Sussman)

Shark Tank judge Barbara Corcoran just learned a very expensive lesson. Her office fell victim to a phishing scam originating from China that left the businesswoman and investor US$380,700.11 (S$530,700) out of pocket.

The scam was first reported by TMZ on Thursday (Feb 27) and has been confirmed by People magazine.

The scammers had gotten in touch with Corcoran’s bookkeeper using an email address that looked like it came from Corcoran’s assistant.

Except that it didn’t. The email address used by the scammers was different by just one letter from the real assistant’s address, but it was enough to fool the bookkeeper, who did ask follow-up questions regarding the funds requested but received believable answers.

When asked what the money was for, the scammers wrote back that it would be used to renovate German apartment units that Corcoran had invested in.

Corcoran told People: “There was no reason to be suspicious as I invest in a lot of real estate.”

The bookkeeper then went ahead and wired the money over to the account listed in the email and just like that – bye bye half a million dollars.

The scam was discovered when the bookkeeper emailed Corcoran’s assistant using her real email address to inform her of the transfer.

TMZ reported that Corcoran’s team managed to trace the money to a Chinese IP address.

Corcoran added that the scammer has disappeared and she “won’t be getting the money back.”

However, she’s keeping a positive attitude, telling People: “I was upset at first, but then remembered it was only money.”

Source: CNA/sr