29 business professionals personas attending BRAND MINDS

BRAND MINDS is an amazing 2-day live experience providing business professionals attending the event with key insights on business scaleup, sales strategy, social media & marketing, team engagement, creativity & innovation, building the right habits for success, risk management strategies and more.

Are you one of the following 29 business professionals? Then BRAND MINDS is for you!

#1 CEO

#2 CMO

#3 CTO

#4 Top Executive

#5 Business Owner

#6 Business Consultant

#7 Investor

#8 Fund Manager

#9 Sales Manager

#10 HR Manager

#11 L&D Manager

#12 Brand Manager

#13 Marketing Specialist

#14 Startup Founder

#15 Advertising Executive

#16 Sales Consultant

#17 Risk Analyst

#18 Risk Manager

#19 Business Coach

#20 Team Trainer

#21 Team Leader

#22 Art & Creative Director

#23 Graphic Designer

#24 Content Creator

#25 Social Media Manager

#26 Psychologist

#27 Operations Manager

#28 Fund Manager

#29 Freelancers­

Join BRAND MINDS and network with the GLOBAL BUSINESS ELITE!

What is CEO Fraud?


Email has long been a core tool for business communications, whether it was directed internally, towards the employees or externally, towards suppliers, clients and other businesses.

Being such a vital tool for communication, the email is often subject to cyber attacks from hackers trying to steal your company’s money.

You may have heard of spam, phishing and spoofing as email threats to your data and computer, but have you heard of CEO Fraud?


Keep reading to find out what CEO Fraud is, discover 3 real-world examples and what to do to protect your company.

What is CEO Fraud?

FBI defines CEO Fraud as follows:

“A sophisticated scam that often targets employees with access to company finances and trick them using a variety of methods like social engineering and computer intrusions into making wire transfers to bank accounts thought to belong to trusted partners but instead belong to accounts controlled by the criminals themselves.” (source: fbi.gov)

This fraud is targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments.

The scammers don’t discriminate: they target large corporations as well as small to medium sized companies.

This fraud originated in Nigeria but has spread throughout the world.

[bctt tweet=”In the last year, FBI reported the loss of over $3.7 billion due to CEO Fraud.” username=”brand_minds”]

How does CEO Fraud work?

The cybercriminals hack the email of an executive and use it to send email messages to a targeted employee working in the financial or accounting department. The impersonating message contains instructions to transfer funds to a specific bank account controlled by the scammer.

Why is this type of fraud so dangerous?

Using deception, the cybercriminals make the emails look credible and familiar. The employee doesn’t suspect it as being fake for a second. Because the scammers are leveraging the influence and authority of a top executive or CEO, this type of fraud came to be known as the CEO Fraud.

Here is a sample of an email designed to trick the targeted employee:


source image: blog.trendmicro.com

3 real-world examples of CEO Fraud

  1. Etna Industrie, France

Etna Industrie employs 50 people and has been making industrial equipment on the outskirts of Paris for nearly 75 years. In 2016, the company became a victim of CEO Fraud.

The company’s accountant received an email from her boss, Carole Gratzmuller announcing that she was buying a company in Cyprus. The email included instructions from Carole as to where to transfer the money.

A total of $542,000 was transferred to foreign bank accounts: the banks held three of the wire transfers up, but $142,000 went through to the scammers. (Source: bbc.com)

  1. FACC Operations GmbH, Austria

FACC Operations GmbH is an Austrian company that produces various airplane parts for companies like Airbus and Boeing.

In 2016, the company announced that it was the victim of a cyber fraud that targeted its financial accounting department.

The financial damage was at $54 million. (Source: news.softpedia.com)

  1. Mattel, U.S.A.

Mattel, the well-known manufacturer of the Barbie doll has fallen victim to the CEO Fraud as well.

In 2016, Mattel was pushing to increase its business in China and had a new CEO at the helm. An executive in the finance department received an email from the newly appointed CEO to wire $3 million for a vendor in China. Mattel has a double-check transfer system in place that each payment must go through.

The payment checked out correctly and the executive wired the funds. Hours later she mentions the money transfer to the CEO who denies having sent such an email.

Mattel quickly asked the help of the Chinese Police which was successful in recovering the money two days later. (Source: news.com.au)

Expert’s Opinion

We talked about CEO Fraud to Mihaela Paun, Bitdefender’s Vice President of Consumer Sales and Marketing.

Here are her recommendations:

“Two major factors converge to the success of CEO fraud: the social component that prompts the employee to comply with the request under the hierarchic pressure and the amount of money that cyber-criminals can make in one shot.

This is why advanced security measures should be complemented by strong internal policies at all times. On the technology side, several aspects financial departments (or any department that works with payments) should take into account are the use of two-factor authentication mechanisms and close monitoring of internal communications impersonating executives. Spam traps can be trained to raise alerts with IT security whenever the sender’s name does not match the associated company e-mail address. E-mail coming from “typosquatted” (impersonating) domain names should be discarded immediately by the antispam filer as well.

On the human side, financial departments should implement strong payment policies. Payments should not be made in the absence of an agreement or purchase order associated with the invoice. The purchase order should clearly state the beneficiary, the maximum amount of money and the bank account number for the payments to be made to. For large amounts of money, extra approvals should be formalized and double checked offline such as calling a trusted phone number.

Security of transactions should be an ongoing effort and every employee should be trained on how to spot phishing attempts, as well as how to report such attempts to the IT department.”

How is your company protecting itself from CEO fraud?

Jeff Bezos – Amazon, the new robots company

Every fan of technology and sci-fi would have loved to be in the shoes of Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, as he piloted a huge robot, that looked takes straight from Transformers, at an Amazon-organized annual conference for robotics enthusiasts – Machine Learning, Home Automation, Robotics and Space Exploration (MARS)- in Palm Springs, Calif. Photos and clips of the humanoid robot, which is four-meters-tall (13-foot) and weighs  1.5 tons, first surfaced online last year,  however sceptics have questioned the authenticity of footage released showing the robot walking.

Bezos was filmed controlling the robot’s arms in the latest footage; however it was attached to some chains and was seemingly unable to actually walk around by itself.

According to livescience.com, the robot does not pick anything up in the video, either, which is notable because its developers say that one of their goals is to create piloted robots for real-world jobs, like cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was damaged in 2011 when a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. “So far, none of the footage of the mech has shown it manipulating objects. The massive bot also runs on external power, which means that, so far, it’s unable to work untethered,” added Stephanie Pappas for Live Science.

The suit was created by robotics expert Vitaly Bulgarov,  a veteran of science fiction blockbusters, for the South Korean technology company.

“Everything we have been learning so far on this robot can be applied to solve real-world problems,” the designer previously said on his Facebook page.

Bulgarov is famous for working on film series such as Transformers, Robocop and Terminator.

According to The Telegraph, Method-2 is seen as a test-bed for various technologies that will allow the creators to build any type and size of robot in future.

What you need to know about the 70 percent rule

According to investopedia.com, the rule of 70 is a way to estimate the number of years it takes for a certain variable to double. “To estimate the number of years for a variable to double, take the number 70 and divide it by the growth rate of the variable. This rule is commonly used with an annual compound interest rate to quickly determine how long it takes to double your money,” writes the website.

Also, the rule is very popular in the real estate world, where the 70% of ARV (after repair value) “rule” is a formula commonly referred to by real estate investors, and used as a barometer when purchasing distressed real estate for a profit.  The formula will calculate the maximum you can pay for a given property once you input two key factors, namely the ARV and estimated repair costs.

But, “it is critical to realize the 70% “rule” is not a one size fits all model that can be applied universally to all situations, markets or exit strategies.  As a result investors who try to uniformly apply this 70% rule will consequently get less offers accepted. If you treat it with such regard, you will miss out on deals because your offers will be less competitive. Being in tune with your market is key and allows you to make more competitive, fair offers that have a higher chance of being accepted,” says biggerpockets.com.

source: SlidesShare

At the same time, though differently, the rule is also used by CEOs while delegating their power. When instead of money we are talking about performance,productivity, engagement and life-work balance.

According to inc.com, this 70 percent performance standard allows the CEO to aggressively move tasks to team members and have them perform the tasks at an acceptable level. “One important point is that if you delegate a task fully, you shouldn’t try to coach up the receiver to get back that 30 percent difference. When it comes to effective delegation, not only does communication need to be clear, concise, and consistent, but also you need to make sure each team member has access to the same information. Trust is one of the most important factors when it comes to delegation, and it goes both ways. You need to trust that your team members will complete the work they are responsible for, and your team members need to trust that you are giving them all the information they need to do the work. You will be available to back them up when necessary, writes Jim Schleckser for inc.com.

As techtarget.com points out, , according to the 70 percent rule, employees are most productive not when they are working as hard as they can from day to day but when they work, most of the time, at a less intense pace. “In this way, when demands are increased temporarily, they have some capacity to respond, whereas the employee working full-out is incapable of producing any more. (…) Best practices for incorporating the 70 percent rule include taking vacations and mini-breaks, leaving some of the day unscheduled and learning to refuse unreasonable work demands,” concludes TechTarget.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Gary Vaynerchuk

We are thrilled to announce that Gary Vaynerchuk is coming to BRAND MINDS 2020!

BRAND MINDS is The Central and European Business Summit taking place in Bucharest, Romania.

Here are 10 things you might not know about Gary Vaynerchuk

American serial entrepreneur, four-time New York Times bestselling author, speaker and internationally recognized internet personality. First known as a leading wine critic who grew his family’s wine business from $3 million to $60 million, Vaynerchuk is now best known as a digital marketing and social-media pioneer at the helm of New York-based VaynerMedia and VaynerX.  Angel investor or advisor for the likes of Uber, Birchbox, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, he is a regular keynote speaker at global entrepreneurship and technology conferences.

1.No matter the amount of success and money he has at this point he is still working 13-15 hours a day. 

2.  He is into every aspect of his life 100 %, ready to give 51 % of the value to the other person.

3. He tries to figure out what you are going to do, before you do it

4. He’s passionate with the New York Jets. His dream as a child was to become the owner of the New York Jets and it still is.

5. He’s an HR Driven CEO. He is very interested in his employees’ ideas and opinions and their feedback on everyday work.  He uses empathy and tries to understand “why”. 

6. He believes it’s in his DNA to be an entrepreneur. It’s the life he breaths and loves to, every day. 

7. He doesn’t care about others’ opinion on him, as he knows very well who he is. “I put zero weight into anyone’s opinion about me because I know exactly who I am. Can you say the same?”, quotes medium.com

8. He believes that a person’s friends and family can influence their success. “Maybe if you got rid of one friend or spent a lot less time with one friend who’s a real drag and a negative force and added a positive person in your office … If you switched it from 80 days hanging out with your negative friend and one day with your office acquaintance who’s super positive, to four days with your negative friend and 12 with this new person. I’ve physically watched I mentor in my organizations have a totally different life on that thesis……I think that people are keeping very negative people around them and if they aspire to change their situation, it’s imperative to audit the seven to 10 people who are around you,” Vaynerchuk told Business Insider.

9. He is a Judge and Adviser at the Apple’s show ” Planet of the Apps, alongside Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Will I.AM.  More on the program you can read here.

10.  In #AskGaryVee he cuts straight to the heart of the question and what it says about the person asking the question — their motivations, their fundamental assumptions and what their real question should actually be.

Are you a #worldchanger?

Come to BRAND MINDS 2020: Gary Vaynerchuk, Malcolm GladwellMartin Lindstrom, Michio Kaku, Tara Westover and host Richard Quest

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