KGW News recently released a story about how an Oregon family lost $123,000 after falling victim to an email scam.

Aaron Cole and his family had just sold their Oregon City home, which they had been improving for six years in order to buy their new dream home. They found their dream home and received confirmation from their title company that they'd be in touch soon with detailed instructions for wiring the $123,000 down payment.

The next day, Cole received an official-looking email that appeared to be from the title company with wiring instructions. Expecting this, Cole followed the instructions and transferred the $123,000 down payment from his bank account to the bank listed in the wiring details. Here's the problem - the wiring instructions were part of an email scam and the email was not from the real title company.

A couple days after he sent the money, Cole received an email from the real title company including wiring instructions. This raised a red flag, so he contacted the local police and quickly the FBI became involved. "The FBI told Cole that investigators traced the money through five banks and it is out of the country, meaning there is no hope the family will get the money back." (KGW)

Could this ever happen to me? The answer is, yes.

It's estimated that 91% of cyber attacks and breaches started with an email phishing attack.

What steps can I take to prevent this from happening to me?

The first step is getting a solid grasp of what your operating environment and security risk looks like. Once you have better visibility, it is far easier to take meaningful steps to secure your data.

In the short video below, Joe Seifert, CPA, and partner at Delap and cybersecurity team member Brandon Walcott discuss current tax scams and strategies you and your employees can use to thwart attacks like these.