Business Email Scams Related Losses Rank First Among All Kinds of Internet Fraud

Industry News

The FBI released an investigative report based on last year’s US cybercrime complaint data, stating that business email fraud (BEC) caused the greatest losses to victims, reaching $2.4 billion US dollars, accounting for 35% of all cybercrime losses.


The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 847,000 complaints in 2021, a 7% increase over the previous year. With a total of 324,000 complaints received last year, the cybercrime with the most complaints was all types of phishing activities. With over 82,000 complaints, the second most common type of fraud was transaction fraud, in which no payment or products were received. There were 52,000 complaints about the leakage of personal information.


The total amount of victim loss was 6.9 billion US dollars. Among those crimes, Business Email Compromise (BEC) had the highest loss amount although it only ranked ninth in the number of complaints. Aside from BEC scams, investment and romance scams caused the second and third largest losses in the US, with $1.5 billion and $960 million US dollars respectively. These top three crimes alone accounted for 70% of all losses by cybercrimes.


The FBI specifically warned against BEC, stating that such fraudulent activities specifically target companies or individuals in charge of legal transfers. Hackers will first obtain the email credentials of companies or individuals, particularly the CEO or the CFO of the company, through social engineering or intrusion, and then request employees to remit money. While these payments are mainly sent to banks in Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Mexico and Singapore, there are also increasing complaints that involve cryptocurrencies. Since the first step in a BEC scam involves impersonating an issuer and sending fraudulent emails in its name, it is important to protect our accounts via two-factor authentication and be careful of spoofed emails.


Stay alert. See our previous post and learn How to Protect Yourself from Business Email Compromise (BEC) now!