It’s no secret that the cybercrime commonly known as business email compromise, or BEC, is now counted among the most prolific scams being tracked by FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
What may be less well known is the central role that social media has played in many of the BEC scams, which according to FBI reports are now responsible for more than 22,000 victims and nearly $3.1 billion in losses.
Although BEC scams are continuing to quickly evolve, most of the companies that have fallen victim to them thus far have been using wire transfers to move funds for business purposes. The scheme frequently unfolds when a fraudster uses a look-alike email address to pose as a senior officer (very often the CEO) to initiate an urgent transfer of funds to the fraudster’s account.
How do the fraudsters leverage social media?
As the scams have grown more complex, so too has the level of reconnaissance being performed by the fraudsters. Frequently, they begin by identifying the management structure as well as the key individuals who are the most likely to process the company’s financial transactions and here’s where Google and LinkedIn searches often garner results.
Searches such as “ACME controller” and ACME CEO” very often succeed in identifying key individuals. Meanwhile, a deeper dive into an individual’s social media activity may quickly reveal travel or vacation plans.
To learn how to protect your company from BEC scams and other cybercrimes, Middle Market Executive is now inviting its partners to provide you with information resources. Recognizing BEC Scams, now available here or inside Middle Market Executive’s Resource Center, is the first in a series of data security resources provided by our partner U.S. Bank.