The 3.1 billion dollar scam

The 3.1 billion dollar scam

Business Email Compromised is defined as a sophisticated scam targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments. The scam is carried out by compromising legitimate business e-mail accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorized transfers of funds.

Most victims report using wire transfers as a common method of transferring funds for business purposes; however, some victims report using checks as a common method of payment. The fraudsters will use the method most commonly associated with their victim’s normal business practices.

The BEC scam continues to grow, evolve, and target businesses of all sizes. Since January 2015, there has been a 1,300% increase in identified exposed losses1. The scam has been reported by victims in all 50 states and in 100 countries. Reports indicate that fraudulent transfers have been sent to 79 countries with the majority going to Asian banks located within China and Hong Kong.

The following BEC statistics were reported to the IC3 and are derived from multiple sources to include IC3 victim complaints and complaints filed with international law enforcement agencies and financial institutions:

Domestic and International victims: 22,143
Combined exposed dollar loss: $3,086,250,090
The following BEC statistics were reported in victim complaints to the IC3 from October 2013 to May 2016:
Domestic and International victims: 15,668
Combined exposed dollar loss: $1,053,849,635
  • Total U.S. victims:
14,032
  • Total U.S. exposed dollar loss:
$960,708,616
  • Total non-U.S. victims:
1,636
  • Total non-U.S. exposed dollar loss:
$93,141,019