FBI warns local businesses of new email scheme

Posted at 6:53 PM, Mar 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-22 18:53:52-04

Businesses in all 50 states and in 70 countries around the globe are being targeted as part of email schemes. "1.3 billion dollars in losses to American companies," said Federal Bureau of Investigation Supervisory Special Agent Bryan Smith. 

Hundreds of businesses in our area are being targeted as well. The FBI has seen a 270 percent increase in this kind of cyber crime in the past year.

The criminals have figured out instead of getting a few thousand dollars from scamming individuals, they can bilk businesses out tens of thousands of dollars. It's a play off the old Nigerian schemes, but now businesses are being targeted, explained Smith. 

The criminals send an email from what looks like the CEO or CFO of a company to the accounts payable department asking an employee to transfer money. What the employee doesn't know is that the email is fake and they are sending the money, typically, overseas. But, sometimes the money is sent to a United States bank through another person.

The criminals use public information to make it more credible. "It may be that the CEO is traveling or just got finished at a conference or something that is true. There is no reason to believe it is not a legitimate email from the CEO or CFO," Smith said.

The email is so convincing that hundreds of companies locally have fallen for the scheme.

If you are a victim of the scam, make two calls. One to your bank to try and stop the transfer of money from going through. The second, to the FBI.