Shark Tank host falls victim to phishing scam

(Image credit: wk1003mike / Shutterstock)

Shark Tank's Barbara Corcoran has lost almost $400,000 to cybercriminals after her office recently fell victim to a phishing scam.

The incident began last week when Corcoran's bookkeeper received an email regarding an invoice related to a real estate renovation. Corcoran explained why her bookkeeper didn't find the email to be suspicious to PEOPLE, saying:

“I lost the $388,700 as a result of a fake email chain sent to my company. It was an invoice supposedly sent by my assistant to my bookkeeper approving the payment for a real estate renovation. There was no reason to be suspicious as I invest in a lot of real estate.”

The bookkeeper continued to communicate with the scammer, who was pretending to be Corcoran's assistant, up until the wire transfer of $400,000 was complete.

Fake email address

The scammer was able to trick the Shark Tank star's bookkeeper by using social engineering to impersonate her assistant. 

After finding out the name and email of Corcoran's assistant, the scammer created a fake email address that was almost identical to theirs except for the fact that it was misspelled by one letter.

The scammer has since disappeared but Corcoran's IT team was able to trace the emails back to a Chinese IP address according to TMZ, who first broke the story.

While the Shark Tank star may be out of almost $400,000, her story illustrates the point that it takes an entire organization to successfully fight against phishing as even one weak link can leave an organization vulnerable.


Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.