BBB Reports Business Email Scams Skyrocketing

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A study by the Better Business Bureau finds that phishing attempts using fradulent business emails are rising in frequency and have cost organizations more than $3 billion since 2016, more than any other type of fraud.

Dubbed “business email compromise” scams, the phishing emails spoof the accounts of employees to con money out of businesses. The FBI recognizes six types of BEC scams: a high-ranking leader asking for money to be wired, a vendor or supplier requesting changes to invoice payments, requesting employee tax information, employees asking for pay to be deposited into different accounts, employees requesting the recipient to buy gift cards and real estate agents redirecting proceeds into different accounts.

Year-over-year, the BBB reports, such fraud attempts increased 50% during the first three months of 2019. Between the beginning of 2016 and May 2019, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 58,571 complaints of business email compromise fraud. In 2018 alone, 80% of businesses reported receiving such emails.

The BBB report suggests business take technical precautions, such as multifactor authentication for email logins, confirming actions suggested by phishing attempts via phone before taking action and training all employees in internet security.

If your company has lost money to BEC fraud, the organization continues, report the loss to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. If a report is filed within 48 hours, there is a chance the money can be recovered. Unsuccessful BEC attacks can also be reported and aid the FBI in establishing patterns to identify the source of the attacks and bank accounts money is sent to. Fraud can also be reported to the BBB’s Scam Tracker.

The BBB’s full report, “Is That Email Really from ‘The Boss’: The explosion of Business Email Compromise Scams,” is available here.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.