Last week, the U.S. subsidiary of Japan’s largest financial media organization, Nikkei, made headlines for the reason that no firm ever wants: The company was the victim of financial fraud to the tune of $29 million via a wire transfer gone bad.

Details are still emerging, but what is known thus far is that the transfer took place sometime in late-September, and was based on “fraudulent instructions by a malicious third-party who purported to be a management executive of Nikkei,” according to a statement by the company.

Some of the information coming out of the Nikkei situation — David Barnhardt, chief experience officer at GIACT, told Karen Webster — is pretty head-turning. The amount of money stolen is certainly a big hit. Yet, what is unusual is the fact that the fraudsters didn’t just imitate a management executive in a phishing email, but physically emulated the sound of his voice over the phone.

“I don’t want to applaud [the fraudsters] — far from it. Our job is to stop them. But you almost have to give them kudos for actually moving to foil voice biometrics. That is pretty slick. Just not in a good way,” Barnhardt said.

However, it is because of such unique details combing this story that it is getting international attention. These kinds of incidents — unlike other types of frauds and breaches that must be reported — will often be taken as treasury losses, and may never be publicly disclosed. The learning opportunity here, as well as with other “canaries in the coal mine” dropping all over the world, is all the ways in which an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure when it comes to fraud.

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