SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO -- Email hackers recently scammed two South San Francisco companies out of more than $40,000, prompting police to warn the public to double-check their correspondence.

In September the thieves gleaned enough information from breaking into either the companies' email accounts or those of overseas vendors to produce phony bills. The companies then sent the money via wire transfer and subsequently realized they were victims of a crime, South San Francisco police said. Police did not identify the companies.

In both cases the scammers referenced the names of account managers and created email addresses that were one letter or one number different from the vendors' real addresses. The South San Francisco business owners, who routinely got invoices via email, didn't notice the subtly different email accounts, police said.

Police encouraged businesses and the public in general to verify the authenticity of any correspondence before sending money via wire transfer or other means.

Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.



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