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FBI warning of ‘dramatic rise’ in an email scam resulting in $2.3 billion

FBI warning of ‘dramatic rise’ in an email scam resulting in $2.3 billion in stolen money as cyber criminals impersonate company’s CEO.

How does the email scam work according to the FBI?

Pretty simple if you look at the process.  Your company will receive an email that looks as if it came from the CEO. The email will instruct the person who manages the company’s finances to send a payment to a certain bank account or provide login information to the company’s payroll system.

How does the email scam look genuine?

The cyber criminals use a fraudulent domain that looks very similar to your legitimate company website. They setup a fraudulent bank account to where the money is sent as well as get away with payroll information about your employees.

My company is safe from this email scam. Are you sure?

While many companies are safe to a certain degree from this scam, the numbers are still very surprising. According to the FBI, police officials around the world are aware of this scam and it has been reported in 79 countries. From this scam, cyber criminals have been able to steal over $2.3 billion from October 2013 to February 2016.  The number is probably higher as this number is only based on what has been reported.

Snapchat, a large tech companies has acknowledged that in February 2016, one of its employees had accidentally revealed payroll information after being hit by this email scam claiming to have been sent by CEO. Seagate, a large data-storage company also fell victim to the scam in March 2016 and Fast Company which is a leading online publisher also handed over confidential information.

What do I do I if I fell victim to this email scam?

  1. Contact your financial institution immediately.
  2. Have them contact the financial institution where the fraudulent transfer was sent.
  3. Contact the authorities and file a report regardless of dollar loss

What does the FBI warning email scam look like?

Example of email scam from FBI warning.
Email example of what the scam email from FBI looks like to victims.

How do I protect my business from this FBI warning email scam?

  1. Always questions e-mail-only wire transfer requests.
  2. Nothing is urgent so always pay attention to “urgency”.
  3. Pick up the phone and verify requests.
  4. Check the domain that it is not a mimicked e-mail addresses.
  5. Always practice multi-level authentication for payments.


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 Source for article: FBI Warns of Dramatic Increase in Business E-Mail Scams

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