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Great Barrington business suffers cybercrime attack | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (NEWS10) — A small business in the Berkshires was the victim of the growing cyber-crime known as social engineering. The business lost a significant amount of money that cannot be recouped.

“We can’t function without the fabric and without the money we can’t buy the fabric,” said Molly De St Andre.

Aurelien and Molly De St Andre own a children’s clothing store and they told NEWS10 the pandemic put supply chain issues in the spotlight which made them search far and wide for fabric. Online communication struck most of the trouble during this time.

“I was corresponding with my rep as I always do, and we have a good relationship. I did not realize that over time another person had hacked into their system and was posing as my rep,” said De St Andre.

She tells NEWS10 after several conversations she was given an official invoice, totally nearly $40,000, from the person she thought was her rep. “The invoice that we took to the bank had fraudulent details on it and it went straight to the scammer. And we didn’t even know that for a month and a half,” said De St Andre.

They thought they were covered by insurance. “He told us we’re covered for cyber-crimes; we’re looking into this tiny clause in our insurance that basically made it impossible, it made them unwilling to cover this,” said De St Andre.

But help came from another source. On Railroad Street in Great Barrington the small businesses are coming together to support one of their own. “We’re watching out for each other and truly the expression of the rising tide lifts all boats, if one of us goes down, it only hurts our town in general,” said Mary Daire, owner Daire Bottle Shop and Provisions.

The business owner says she wants to let as many other business owners, as she can, know what to look out for . “Honestly you know, like if this could happen to us and we are so careful, this literally could happen to anyone,” said De St Andre.

One of those businesses helping De St Andre learned a few things as well when it comes to safe business practices. “We talked with our insurance agent to get more robust cyber insurance. We didn’t even realize that was something that would affect a small business such as ours.  We’re not even doing sales over the internet but the sophistication level of these scams these days you can never be too safe,” said Alex Cosgrove, Co-founder Greenhouse Yoga.  

The 2023 FBI internet crime report says cyber-crime victims’ losses exceed $12.5 billion, a 22% increase from 2022. 

A GoFundMe has been set up to help offset the costs of the scam.


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