FBI: BEC Scam Attempts Amount to $3 Billion

FBI warns of rise in business email compromise frauds, says it should be reported immediately.

The FBI is warning that there has been a sudden spike in business email compromise (BEC) scams. Launching a public awareness campaign, the Bureau said fraudsters tried to steal around $3.1 billion from businesses posing as company executives and ordering huge wire transfers. Just four months ago, the FBI put the figure at $2.3 billion, so this is a significant increase in such a short time. Although not all attempts were successful, news reports show that BEC attacks have struck several companies with multimillion-dollar losses.  

US and foreign victims have reported 22,143 cases from October 2013 through last month, according to the FBI. The bureau has asked to be notified immediately of a BEC scheme, which saw 1300 percent hike in losses since January 2015, so that the transferred money could be recovered before it got too late. Transfer requests are commonly made to China and Hong Kong banks, adds the FBI.

The recent increase in such activities is seen partly because of the effort made by law enforcement agencies to categorize these scams separately as BECs in which the business and not the customer is targeted — unlike regular wire fraud, says Reuters, citing the FBI.

Read full report at Reuters

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