Tag: bec

Email Auto Forward

The FBI has warned businesses of the threat posed by cybercriminals who create auto-forwarding rules on their victims’ web-based email services, in an attempt to make them more susceptible to Business Email Compromise.

Business Email Compromise is an American name for fraud where hackers send an email message that appears to come from a known source making a legitimate request but ends up with the recipient being defrauded.

e.g. the hackers manage to get the email address and details for a solicitor conducting a house sale and email their customers asking for payment to be made to a new bank account (controlled by the criminals).

Or a hacker spoofs the email address of the company CEO to instruct a ledger clerk to transfer some company money to a new bank account.

Email Auto Forward Rules

With many email systems you can create rules that automatically move emails to folders or mark emails or delete messages from specified senders or auto forward emails containing specified keywords then delete them, for example.

The criminals use a variety of methods to get access to email systems, the most common being the sending of phishing messages to get the victims to enter their email credentials into a fake website page believing it is something to their benefit e.g. a free prize draw.

With access to the email, they setup rules that, for example, will auto forward any incoming message with the keywords ‘bank’, account’, ‘payment’ or ‘money’ then delete the messages.

The hackers hope this will give them emails containing enough information to be able to create matching fake emails and send those to the relevant companies asking for money to be transferred or to change the bank details for a payment due etc.

The hackers continue this until someone realises their payments are going astray.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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FBI Take Down 74 Business Email Scammers

The FBI call this scam “Business Email Compromise” (BEC).

It’s when a scammer gets the email address of a senior member of a business and impersonates them in emails asking for money to be transferred to an outside account and it is a very common and sadly quite lucrative scam.

It is a rapidly rising scam and estimated to cost business some hundreds of millions of dollars last year.

The FBI report that the elderly, art galleries and collectors, and real estate purchasers have also found themselves targets over the last few years.

The FBI worked with law enforcement agencies from four continents to takedown a ring of cybercriminals responsible for a series of business e-mail compromise schemes. According to the Department of Justice, the scams led to $14 million in phony wire transfers.

The exercise was called Operation Wire Wire and resulted in the seizure of $2.4M, 42 arrests across the United States, 29 in Nigeria, and three in Canada, Mauritius and Poland.

The FBI thanked the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Toronto Police Service, the Mauritian Attorney-General and the Commissioner of Police, Polish Police Central Bureau of Investigation, Indonesian National Police Cyber Crimes Unit, and the Royal Malaysia Police, for assisting them in the operation.

23 of the U.S. arrests were made in the state of Florida where individuals reportedly laundered roughly $10M from BEC scams. Another scam in Connecticut resulted in the loss of $2.6 million.

For one attack the FBI enlisted the help of the IRS’ Criminal Investigation unit. Those arrested – a pair of Nigerian nationals living in Texas – allegedly sent a real estate closing attorney an email asking for $246,000 be wired to their account. The victim lost $130,000 after the bank was notified of the fraud and froze $116,000.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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