Wiped Out: From Major Grant to Drained Bank Accounts

Ushir Shah & Nathalie Molina Niño

Congratulations—you have just been named the recipient of some much-needed and well-deserved funding!

The bad news? Well, now you need to be on high alert for cyber scams. That press release listing you as a recipient of a major award may have put a bullseye on your back. Your name and the award has probably landed you on the radar of some hackers.

But before your eyes glaze over and you think this is just another overblown warning: this has already happened to other organizations like yours. Some of them were wiped out within weeks of receiving huge grants that were about to transform their world. In 2016 after raising millions of dollars for the Standing Rock Sioux Native American tribe protests, a quarter million dollars was inadvertently wired by the political non-profit Our Revolution to scammers who posed as trusted business vendors. In 2017, Save the Children was phished into sending $997,400 to a scammer. The most recent victims are keeping the incidents confidential, as you can imagine.

Even if you haven’t (yet) received that kind of a windfall, it’s important to know these various types of scams continue to make their way through the nonprofit world as well as the for-profit.

There’s good news though: there are three steps you can take to protect yourself, and they don’t require you to find extra money to hire an IT consultant.

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* The views expressed in this material are the personal views of the authors listed above, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Known Holdings, LLC (“Known”) itself. The opinions expressed reflect current views as of the date hereof, and neither the authors nor Known undertake any responsibility to advise of any changes in the views expressed herein.



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