There has been a recent increase in email compromise fraud targeting businesses. These fraud schemes are known as business email compromise (BEC), in which scammers will send deceptive emails to business owners and/or employees in order to gain access to funds.
One of the most common tactics is scammers pretending to be a supplier/vendor who has recently switched banks and are now asking companies to send payments to a different bank routing and account number.
Another common scheme is tricking companies into sending wire transfers which appear legitimate, but are not actually authorized. Scammers will impersonate the company CEO or executives and send emails to company employees to send out immediate wires with fraudulent wire instructions.
To successfully detect BEC schemes carefully review and verify the content of the email, and from whom you are receiving it. Additional red flags:
- Double check the sender and email address is one you are familiar with. Often times the email addresses don’t match previous correspondence, and there is a slight variance or even typo. Ex. Legitimate email of email@example.com vs. firstname.lastname@example.org. Notice the dash between John and Doe are different.
- Check for all the details in the email!
- Skim it over for typos or any atypical language. Does this sound like something the sender would usually say?
- Check for the time of day when the email was sent. If it’s from another business then it would typically be sent during business hours. So if this email was sent late at night then something may be wrong.
- Is the amount the vendor is requesting unusual from your typical payments?
- If emails are marked as “urgent” or “confidential” that may be a red flag. If you are receiving a typical monthly statement then it usually wouldn’t say it is urgent or confidential. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to rush you into making rash decisions.
- Beware of emails requesting you to send money via international wires or to foreign bank accounts. This is a common tactic in BEC schemes, so be on the lookout for this, unless you know you’re working with an international company.
It is always good practice to verify with your vendor that they sent you an email before processing any payment, especially if you have any suspicions. Call to verify anything out of the ordinary, such as new account information, the amount, or even the sender.
To read more about business email compromise scams visit this article by the FBI.
If you believe you have a suspicious email from a scammer contact any of our locations.