Emil Ford Lawyers

CEO Fraud on the rise for schools


The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau in the UK has identified an increase in the number of CEO Fraud reports in which schools are the victims. Schools that fall prey to this type of fraud have experienced significant financial losses.

What is CEO Fraud?

CEO fraud occurs when a fraudster contacts a member of the school staff, claims to be the Principal and requests a money transfer. The scammer makes contact with a member of staff who can authorise financial transfers and requests a one-off, usually urgent, bank transfer to be made. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau notes that the amount usually requested is between £8,000 to £10,000.

The email address used is likely to be similar to the one that the Principal would most often use.

How can schools prevent CEO Fraud?

  • Procedures in place – Have strong procedures in order to verify or corroborate requests for payment.
  • Ask questions – Educate staff regarding procedures and encourage them to question and verify requests for payment from senior employees (including the Principal). Notify staff that urgent requests for bank transfers or payment should always be treated as suspicious, and encourage them to attempt to speak with the person who has made the request.
  • Think twice before you click – Beware of clicking on links or opening attachments.
  • Keep sensitive information confidential – any sensitive information about your organisation that you post online or dispose of incorrectly can be found and used by scammers. Make sure that you shred any confidential documents and invest in security to keep the walls of your IT fortress strong.

If you would like more information on this type of fraud or would like to find out how to better protect your school, contact

Suite 4 Level 5
580 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: +61 2 9267 9800
Fax: +61 2 9283 2553