Watch out for this email scam

A Bay Area-based business is offering up a warning about a sophisticated email scam.

AW Collision Centers is a major player in auto body repair in the Bay Area and throughout California. The scam got started when employee Sasha Yadidi, received an email from shop manager, her boss, Shawn Azam.

It read, "Sasha, good morning. I need you to get an urgent transfer done for me. Let me know if you are available so I can send you the beneficiary details."

RELATED: Woman stops payment to scammer, bank pays him anyway

Sasha responded saying she would get it done. However, she admits, "I was confused because usually transfers don't come from Shawn, they come up from corporate, so I didn't know how to respond, so I responded as if nothing was wrong. Acting like nothing was wrong."

Turns out, someone had broken into Shawn's computer and was sending out those emails, not Shawn.

"It definitely looks like it was sent by me," he says. "It proceeded to tell her it was urgent to send $23,500. It sent all the account information. It says the money should be sent to a person named William, I am withholding the last name, by way of a First Midwest Bank branch in Illinois."

The fake Shawn says, "Let me know when it is done."

RELATED: How to find out if you're a victim of spoofing

7 On Your Side checked the information on the fake email and found there is a branch of First Midwest Bank at the address given, the bank routing number is correct, too.

We reached out to First Midwest Bank and are told no transfer occurred and the client has been notified.

So here's a question, why was this client selected? No one knows for sure, but the account could have been compromised in one of any number of hacks.

Joseph Shabahzi is an executive with AW Collusion Centers. He says asking for specific money transfer information was key to uncovering the scam. "Even if I am going to get reimbursed for something, they don't send money into my account, they cut me a check.

So it is very much a red flag when someone is asking you to transfer funds."

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.