The FBI says there’s been a ‘dramatic increase’ in email scams that’s costing businesses $2.3 billion

FBI

The FBI says an email scam aimed at impersonating a company’s CEO and asking for a money transfer, has seen a “dramatic increase.”

Here’s how the scam works.

A company receives an email that looks as if it came from the CEO. The email instructs someone who manages the company’s money to send a payment to a certain bank account or provide login information to the company’s payroll system.

The email is from a criminal who uses the CEOs name to have wire fraudulently sent to an account of their choosing.

The bank account the money is sent to isn’t a legitimate customer; it’s an account owned by scammers.

In some cases criminals have used this type of scam to also steal the personal data for hundreds of employees.

This new business-focused email scam has been reported inĀ 79 countries, the FBI says.

An FBI alert says that from October 2013 to February, the FBI was made aware of $2.3 billion in money lost because of the email scam.

The agency notes that $2.3 billion might be a modest amount because larger tech firms may not have noticed unauthorized transfers at this time.

Here’s what the email often looks like.

email scams for businesses - FBI warning