FinCEN: Business email scams stole $300M a month in 2018

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) highlighted new efforts to combat business email compromise (BEC) scams – one of the most prevalent types of cyberfraud – at a FinCEN Exchange forum Tuesday. Suspicious activity reports (SARs) indicate that BEC scams led to more than $300 million stolen a month in 2018, more than three times what was reported in 2016.

BEC scams are used to gain access to a business email account and imitate the owner’s identity in an effort to defraud a company. Tuesday’s forum focused on identifying and combatting BEC money laundering and terrorist financing schemes.

In conjunction with the forum, FinCEN released a trend analysis of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) data exploring the industries targeted and methodologies used by BEC scammers. Among the key findings:

  • the number of SARs related to BEC incidents reported monthly has more than doubled from an average of about 500 per month in 2016 to more than 1,100 per month in 2018;

 

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