It has been confirmed that Facebook and Google were victims of a phishing scam in which they lost over $100 million. The scam had earlier been reported in March by the U.S. Department of Justice after the arrest of a man who was said to be behind the scam. At the time, however, the victims were not named but only said to be two technology giants based in the United States.
In the scam the two Silicon Valley companies were lured by a Lithuanian man who posed as a manufacturer supplier from Asia and made to wire the money to his bank accounts. The Lithuanian, Evaldas Rimasauskas, committed the alleged fraud between 2013 and 2015.
“Fraudulent phishing emails were sent to employees and agents of the victim companies, which regularly conducted multimillion-dollar transactions with [the Asian] company,” the US Justice Department revealed two months ago in a report.
The emails that were used to perpetrate the scam were directed at agents and victims of both Facebook and Google and were designed to be appear like they were hailing from members of staff of the manufacturer based in Asia. However, the emails were not from the Asia-based supplier but only made to look like they were. According to an investigative report by Fortune magazine, the Asia-based firm is Quanta, a supplier of servers to both Facebook and Google.
Besides phishing, Rimasauskas has also been accused of forging corporate stamps, letters, contracts, and invoices of the Asian supplier who regularly conducted business with the two tech firms. A spokesperson for Google said the Mountain View, California-based tech giant detected the fraud before alerting the authorities. The online search giant also revealed that it had recouped the money. Google did not, however, disclose what amount had been wired and how much money had been recovered. Facebook, on the other hand, revealed that they recovered most of the money soon after the incident occurred.
Extradition to the U.S.
Rimasauskas has, however, denied the charges that have been levelled against him and is fighting extradition to the United States. His lawyers claim that their client will not get an impartial and fair trial in the U.S. and cite the interrogation methods of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation used on him were a cause of concern since they were mostly threatening. Rimasauskas is currently held in custody in his home country.