Project Veritas scammed out of $165,000 by a phishing email

Project Veritas, the conservative media group known for staging "sting operations" with hidden cameras where they trick people into saying things out of context that "confirm" right-wing conspiracy theories, announced last week that they got duped by what was essentially a sting operation. Shortly after the company's offices were flooded by Hurricane Ida, the company received an email that appeared to be from their attorneys following up on an invoice — but it turned out to be a phishing scam.

We received an invoice for $165,000 from a few of our attorneys and we intended to pay that invoice so we set up wire transfers for payment. Within an hour the lawyers reached out to us asking us to pay the invoice via a new account they had set up. […]

[The scammers] actually impersonated the actual name of our lawyer, changing a few letters in the email address, replying in real-time to an email chain with our actual attorneys. It appears the fraudsters were watching, waiting for an invoice to be sent to us and then pounced, impersonating them, replying to a real email as the lawyer's name the moment the invoice came.

According to the FBI, this kind of Business Email Compromise affected nearly 20,000 businesses in 2020, resulting in more than $1.8 billion in stolen funds.

As far as I'm aware, however, this is the first time that hackers posing as someone else have scammed money out of a company whose entire function is to pose as someone else in order to scam money out of donors.

Right-wing sting artist James O'Keefe says hackers scammed his Project Veritas out of $165,000 [Mikael Thalen / The Daily Dot]

Image: Judith E. Bell / Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Full disclosure: Project Veritas has targeted friends of mine and ruined their lives with selectively-edited footage.