The FBI is warning about a sophisticated scheme costing businesses millions of dollars. Major targets include financial and lending institutions -- but anyone could be a victim. FBI Agent Keith Scott says a recent email and business account compromise should be taken seriously. "The scam is working," he says.
Crooks are creating bogus emails that could leave businesses in financial shock. "They will spoof the CEO's email address. They will change a single character that may not be noticed, like change dot com to dot CEO," Scott says.
The FBI says the crooks are after money and typically targets the person in the company handling wire transfers. They can fool the employee with a fake email that looks legitimate, tricking them into wiring money to criminals. Another way they pull off the scheme, is by sending an email containing a malicious link. If you fall it, and click the link, your company's computer is infected and crooks have all the access they need. "Fraudsters will then go through the email contact list, find all the customers that they deal with, and send instructions from that individual's email to the customers, encouraging them to send money to the overseas account," Scott explains.
The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center posted warnings detailing the ways criminals target businesses and employees. It also offers safety tips, like creating an intrusion detection system that flags fraudulent emails, having a two factor payment authentication system and carefully scrutinizing all e-mails requesting fund transfers. "The emails are very specifically crafted, they look like they are legitimate, they go to busy individuals in a company who may not be expecting malicious traffic and they just act," Scott says.
The fraudsters are usually overseas and by the time it's reported it's too late to recover any money. The FBI says world wide, criminals have netted over a billion dollars. "The average IC3 complaint is normally for a six thousand dollar loss, in Business Email Compromise, the average loss is 133-thousand," he says. If you think you're victim, report it right away to your bank and police. You can also file a report with the FBI at IC3.gov.
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