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 in 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.