President scam or fake bank transfer orders

What is a FOVI?


FOVI stands for “Fraud on International Transfer Orders”. FOVI is a form of scam in which cybercriminals target businesses. The fraudsters impersonate a legitimate company or individual and ask the victim to make a transfer to an account controlled by the fraudsters. This scam relies on psychological manipulation and deception to induce the victim to make the transfer.

Fovi scams, also known as “President scams”, are highly targeted attacks. They require a preliminary phase of knowledge of the target company, its staff and its president: a major social engineering stage is carried out by the attacker even before the first email. Once prepared, the attack is organized by sending emails and making phone calls to request the urgent transfer of a large sum of money to an international account. Executive assistants and accounting secretaries are the first targets, and it is imperative that they are made aware of this type of threat. The “confidential” and “urgent” nature of the message is systematic and should serve as a warning.

Glossaire Définition FOVI - Arnaque au président

What type of scams are they?

FOVI scams can take a number of different forms:

  1. Identity theft: fraudsters pose as a legitimate company or trusted employee to request a bank transfer.
  2. Compromising computer systems: Cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems to obtain the necessary information and request fraudulent transfers.
  3. Social engineering: Fraudsters use social engineering techniques to manipulate the victim into making the transfer.

What does a FOVI look like?

An FOVI can look like an email, letter, phone call or instant message from a supposedly legitimate source. Fraudsters try to create an appearance of legitimacy by using logos, signatures or stolen personal information.

What legal recourse is available?

In the event of a FOVI scam, we recommend you take the following steps:

  1. Report the scam: Immediately inform the relevant authorities, such as the police or cybercrime agencies.
  2. Block payments: Contact your bank or payment service provider to block the transfer or fraudulent transactions.
  3. Gather evidence: Gather all available evidence, including e-mails, phone records, screenshots, etc., to support your case.
  4. Seek legal advice: Consult a lawyer specializing in cybercrime law to obtain legal advice and determine possible remedies.

It’s important to report the scam promptly and cooperate with the relevant authorities to increase the chances of recovering funds and prosecuting the fraudsters.

Is FOVI a spear phishing attack?

FOVI is not specifically a spear phishing attack. The term “FOVI” refers to international transfer order fraud, which is a form of scam in which fraudsters seek to trick victims into making international transfers to accounts controlled by the fraudsters. Although social engineering and psychological manipulation techniques can be used as part of an FOVI attack, this is not exclusively related to spear phishing.

Spear phishing, on the other hand, is a form of targeted phishing in which attackers send personalized e-mails or messages to specifically deceive a particular person or organization. The aim is to obtain sensitive information, such as login credentials, financial information or other confidential data. Although FOVI can include similar elements of social engineering, it focuses specifically on international money transfer fraud, rather than the collection of sensitive information via personalized e-mails.

It’s important to note that there may be overlap between the different forms of attack, and that fraudsters may use different techniques to achieve their objectives. However, FOVI is distinguished by its specific objective of manipulating victims into making fraudulent international transfers, which differentiates it from spear phishing, which generally aims to obtain sensitive information via personalized e-mails.


In the face of such targeted attacks and determined hackers, the best weapon remains user awareness. Our email security solutions are designed to detect emails of this type and enable upstream blocking. Effective email protection will save you a lot of time and money.

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