The Big Issue, which supports about 120 vendors across the Western Cape, faces possible closure. This after the job creation project was scammed out of R600 000.

MD Derek Carelse says it is not clear if the money will be recovered.

‘If we don't get funds from the public now, it will kill us,’ he said.

On 6 June, it received an email purporting to come from its printers, saying they were changing their bank account and sharing a fake FNB account verification letter.

Over the next three months, R600 000 was paid into this fraudulent account from The Big Issue's Standard Bank account.

News24 reports that the error was discovered on 6 October... but by then it was too late.

‘It's a very simple thing. They imitate the person and the look and feel of the email coming from someone, but it's not actually coming from them.'

Leon Hannibal is the head of investigations at Wolfpack Risk, the cyber security firm conducting an investigation for The Big Issue pro bono.

‘This was clearly a case of business email compromise,’ says Hannibal.

He says that from the emails it is clear this was a ‘targeted attack’.

How the fraudsters got login access to the email accounts of The Big Issue and the printers is not clear.

Full News24 report