Business Email Compromise scams are a type of crime where criminals hack into email accounts, pretend to be someone they’re not and fool victims into sending money where it doesn't belong.
These crimes get far less attention than the massive ransomware attacks that have triggered a powerful government response, but BEC scams have been the costliest type of cybercrime in the U.S. for years.
A new report by the FBI shows that there were nearly 20,000 complaints about BEC scams filed in 2021.
Nearly $2.4 million were lost in 2021 to BEC scams, marking a 33% increase from 2020.
The FBI says fraudsters have become smarter and have started hacking emails to spoof business leaders’ credentials to initiate fraudulent wire transfers.
The money is often transferred to cryptocurrency wallets, which makes it more difficult to recover.
The huge payoffs and low risks associated with BEC scams have attracted criminals worldwide. Some flaunt their ill-gotten wealth on social media, posing in pictures next to Ferraris, Bentleys, and stacks of cash.