Shark Tank‘s Barbara Corcoran has been scammed out of almost $400,000 after her office unknowingly became a victim of a phishing scheme, PEOPLE confirms.
The incident unfolded last week when Barbara’s bookkeeper received an email about an invoice “approving the payment for a real estate renovation,” Corcoran tells PEOPLE.
“I lost the $388,700 as a result of a fake email chain sent to my company,” Corcoran says. “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 whom she thought was Corcoran’s assistant and went ahead with the wire payment on Tuesday.
The error wasn’t noticed until the bookkeeper sent a follow up to Corcoran’s assistant’s actual address, informing her of what she had just done. That’s when the company became aware of the scam and the assistant noticed the hacker had altered her email.
“The money was wired to the scammer yesterday and my bookkeeper copied my assistant, who was shocked to see her name on the correspondence. The detail that no one caught was that my assistant’s email address was misspelled by one letter, making it the fake email address set up by the scammers,” Corcoran explains.
However, it was too late as $388,700.11 was already gone from the account.
“The scammer disappeared and I’m told that it’s a common practice, and I won’t be getting the money back,” Corcoran says.
Despite the dramatic loss, Corcoran is keeping a positive attitude.
“I was upset at first, but then remembered it was only money,” Corcoran tells PEOPLE.
TMZ was first to report the news and revealed that the company the scammer used was FFH Concept GmbH in Germany — a legitimate marketing agency in Hürth.
Corcoran’s IT team was able to trace the emails back to a Chinese IP address, TMZ reported.
In addition to her role on Shark Tank as an investor, Corcoran is known as a businesswoman, speaker and consultant.
She is the founder of The Corcoran Group, a real estate brokerage in New York City. She sold the company to NRT for $66 million in 2001.