Several local businesses have recently fallen victim to spear phishing frauds, resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars, according to the Rockland Police Department.

Spear phishing is a fraudulent email or phone call targeting a particular individual or business that appears to come from a trusted source.

The Rockland Police Department made the announcement April 12.

The most common types of these frauds are emails, according to the department. The call or email appears to be from a client, supplier or employee, and are directed at the account or business management departments of local businesses. The emails often request money be transferred to a certain account, or an employee’s direct deposit information be changed, according to police.

Although email is the most common way these frauds are perpetrated, they can also come via phone calls to human resources departments or business management, according to the news release from the Rockland police.

The caller often already has the employee's or supplier's personal information, date of birth, social security number, and when questioned can provided this information that is commonly used to verify a caller’s identity.

Rockland police offered these tips to avoid falling victim to this type of fraud: People should educate themselves and understand how these types of frauds occur; never provide banking information, account numbers or passwords over email; if you have any doubts about a request, verify it by another means of communication or by speaking to the requester in person; always verify email or phone requests for money transfers or employee direct deposit banking information by other means and having the employee fill out and turn in a hard copy of the request; and speak to an information technology professional about how to tell if an email is spoofed or fraudulent.

"Remember to always use a known contact number or email and never use the number, email or web address listed in the requests, as they may be fraudulent or programmed to redirect you to the fraudulent source," according to police.

To report internet crimes or frauds, contact the Rockland Police Department at 594-0317.