Real estate mogul and "Shark Tank" star Barbara Corcoran is allowing that even sharks can get phished.
Corcoran, 70, on Wednesday tweeted a link to a TMZ.com story reporting that a scammer posing as someone from her executive assistant's office sent a forged email last Friday to Corcoran's bookkeeper. The message approved a payment of $388,700.11 to Ffh Concept GmbH, a marketing and advertising firm that was based in Hürth, Germany, but with a defunct website and a Facebook account not updated since January 2019.
When the bookkeeper asked the nature of the bill, said TMZ, the "assistant" — using an email address one character different from the legitimate address — said the company was a design firm working on apartments in which Corcoran had invested. Corcoran specified to People magazine Wednesday it was purported "payment for a real estate renovation." The invoice itself, posted at TMZ, says it is for something that will be "shipping next week."
The bookkeeper on Tuesday wired the money to the bank account listed in the email, and upon subsequent communication with the genuine assistant, the scam was discovered.
TMZ said Corcoran's IT department traced the phishing emails to an IP address in China.
"Lesson learned: Be careful when you wire money!" tweeted Corcoran, who according to the aggregator website Sharkalytics.com has invested $5,465,000 in 53 deals across 82 episodes of "Shark Tank."
Corcoran told People, "The money was wired to the scammer yesterday and my bookkeeper copied my assistant, who was shocked to see her name on the correspondence. The detail that no one caught was that my assistant's email address was misspelled by one letter, making it the fake email address set up by the scammers."
The investor added that, "The scammer disappeared and I'm told that it's a common practice, and I won't be getting the money back."
Regardless, she remains sanguine. "I was upset at first," she said, "but then remembered it was only money."