What You Need to Know About 'Business Email Compromise' Schemes

financial fraud over the internet

What is a "Business Email Compromise" Scheme? 

A Business Email Compromise (BEC) scheme is a cyber-enabled financial fraud scheme, in which a compromised email account is used to facilitate a fraudulent financial transaction. In a BEC scheme transaction, the email owner believes the transaction to be legitimate, but the money is re-routed to the perpetrator of the scheme. 

BEC schemes can be carried out in a number of different ways, including identity theft and online ploys like e-mail spoofing, use of malware, spear-phishing, or social engineering. 

Examples of Business Email Compromise Schemes

A common BEC scheme involves the perpetrator graining access to a company's internal network through a spear-phishing attack and the use of malware. The infiltration may go undetected for weeks or months, giving the perpetrator time to study the organization's billing systems, vendors, and the CEO's style of e-mail communication. Then, at a strategic time, the scammer will send a fraudulent email from the CEO's email account to a targeted employee who routinely makes company payments. The fraudulent request is usually for an immediate payment or wire transfer to a trusted vendor or other party who routinely receives payments from the company. 

Another common BEC scheme involves targeting real estate transactions. The perpetrator will gain access to and monitor a real estate transaction. Then, at just the right time during the normal course of the transaction, the perpetrator will send the buyer payment instructions. The buyer will have been expecting to make an escrow payment or down payment. The buyer then transfers money to the fraudulent account and the BEC scammer cashes out the funds.

Prevalence of Business Email Compromise Schemes

The FBI began tracking BEC cyber threats in 2013. Since then, large and small companies and organizations in every U.S. state, and more than 100 countries globally, have been targeted. Well-known corporations, non-profit organizations, churches, school systems, and many other types of organizations have unwittingly been involved in BEC schemes, totally losses in the billions of dollars. 

Defending Against Charges of Business Email Compromise Fraud

If you have been accused of Business Email Compromise fraud or any cyber crime you may face incarceration and significant fines. At Adams & Associates, PLC we are particularly knowledgeable regarding email fraud and cyber crimes and we have extensive experience with white collar criminal defense at both the federal and state level. 

When you hire us, we will thoroughly investigate the evidence and we may be able to dismantle the case against you. In the government's zeal to prosecute these types of crimes, officials may unfairly target honest people. Perhaps your rights were violated during the investigation. Here at Adams & Associates, PLC we zealously defend all types of email fraud, cyber crimes, and internet fraud cases. 

We will fight back for you and protect your rights. Contact us or call now (480) 219-1366 for a consultation. Have your questions answered and obtain the peace of mind that comes from having a former Assistant U.S. Attorney on your side