June 14, 2016
Hackers have sought to steal more than $3 billion from businesses in a pernicious, fast-growing type of scam in which criminals impersonate company executives in emails ordering large wire transfers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned on Tuesday.
The FBI disclosed the data as it launched a public awareness campaign providing tips on how to defend against such scams. The cases, which are widely known as business email compromise, target businesses and not consumers.
U.S. and foreign victims reported 22,143 cases involving business email compromise cases in which cyber criminals sent requests for some $3.1 billion in fraudulent transfers from October 2013 through last month, according to the FBI. That represents a significant increase from the agency’s previous tally, which put attempted losses at $2.3 billion through February of this year.
Supervisory Special Agent Mitchell Thompson said victims should notify the FBI immediately if they find they have been victimized in such scams, so the bureau can work with agents overseas to ask foreign banks to freeze the funds before fraudsters pull them out of the banking system.