OTTAWA -- Ontario Provincial Police say two people from Toronto are facing numerous fraud charges in connection with a scam targeting a sports association in Arnprior.

In a news release, police said the unnamed sports group first reported falling victim to fraud in 2019.

"The lengthy investigation revealed multiple sports associations fell victim to spoofed emails directing the Treasurer(s) to electronically transfer (e-transfer) funds to fake vendors," the OPP said.

Two people, Tracy Olajumoke Ekubor, 35, and Ibrahim Abayomi Ekemode, 39, both of Toronto were arrested and are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000 and possession of the proceeds of crime.

The way the fraud works is by fraudsters gathering information on their targets and then sending a fake email that looks like it's from a trusted source—known as 'spoofing'. The emails are disguised to appear as if the company top executives are sending them to their accountants or treasurers. They request an urgent payment to close a private deal or pay an outstanding invoice but the money ends up in the fraudsters' hands. 

Police offer the following tips to businesses and organizations on how to protect themselves from fraud:

  • Remain current on frauds targeting business and educate all employees;
  • Include fraud training as part of new employee onboarding;
  • Put in place detailed payment procedures;
  • Encourage a verification step for unusual requests or updating vendor payment information;
  • Establish fraud identifying, managing and reporting procedures;
  • Avoid opening unsolicited emails or clicking on suspicious links or attachments;
  • Take a few seconds to hover over an email address or link and confirm they are correct;
  • Restrict the amount of information shared publicly and show caution with regards to social media; and
  • Upgrade and update technical security software.