Business Email Compromise Scams: What They Are And How to Protect Yourself

April 12, 2024by TNTMAX

In today’s digital world, cybercrime poses a significant threat to businesses, and one of the most concerning types of attacks is Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams. These scams involve tricking employees through email into sending money or sensitive information to cybercriminals. 

“The surge in BEC incidents underlines a crucial point I emphasize to all our clients: it’s imperative that their employees not only complete cybersecurity training but also grasp its importance in mitigating risk exposure for the entire company,” said TNTMAX President Frederic Farcy

In this article, we’ll explore what BEC scams are, how they work, and what you can do to protect your business.

The Growing Problem of BEC Scams

Recent data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Report shows that Business Email Compromise scams are on the rise. While the number of people falling victim to these scams has fluctuated slightly, the amount of money lost to them continues to increase. In 2023 alone, BEC scams cost businesses a staggering $2.9 billion. These scams are hitting close to home, with New Jersey ranking second in the nation for BEC victims, with an average loss of over $223,000 per victim.

How BEC Scams Work

Business Email Compromise scammers are adept at impersonating trusted contacts and organizations to deceive their targets. They often conduct extensive research to make their emails seem legitimate. Once they’ve gained their victim’s trust, they typically request urgent wire transfers, changes to payment details, or sensitive information like employee payroll data.

Types of BEC Scams

BEC scams come in various forms, but some of the most common include:

  • Invoice Scams: Scammers pose as vendors and redirect invoice payments to their own accounts.
  • Direct Deposit Scams: Cybercriminals impersonate employees and change payroll direct deposit information to steal funds.
  • Real Estate Wire Transfer Scams: Scammers target homebuyers or sellers, posing as real estate agents or attorneys and instructing victims to wire funds to fake accounts.
Protecting Your Business

To safeguard your business against BEC scams, there are several steps you can take:

  • Employee Training: Train your staff to be cautious when responding to email requests for money or sensitive information. 
  • Verification Procedures: Implement protocols for verifying any requests for wire transfers or changes to payment details, especially those received via email. This could be as simple as calling the person using a known number you have for them and asking them to verify the request. 
  • Email Security Measures: Use email authentication tools to detect and prevent email spoofing and impersonation.
  • Incident Response Planning: Develop and test incident response plans to ensure you can quickly and effectively respond to suspected BEC attacks.

By being aware of the tactics used by BEC scammers and taking proactive steps to protect your business, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to these costly scams. 

And don’t hesitate to contact TNTMAX if you have any questions or concerns. Call us at (201) 891-8686.