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U.S. companies lost $263 million as a result of cybercriminal groups’ email scams last year, new report found.

The report, published by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), found email scams, referred to as “Business Email Compromise” (BEC), caused the most significant losses for U.S. companies.

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received 7,838 BEC complaints with losses of over $263 million. The IC3 report defines BEC as “a sophisticated scam targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments.”

The fraudulent attacks included “spoofed emails, intercepted facsimiles, or telephone communications to redirect invoice remittance payments,” the report said. “Fraudulent transfers have gone through accounts in many countries, with a large majority traveling through Asia.”

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Similar attacks targeting clients of financial institutions, real estate firms, and law firms – referred to as “Email Account Compromise” (EAC) – accounted for over $11 million in losses.

While the IC3 is a task force comprised of the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the IC3 report contains only data on complaints received by the FBI.

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