FBI Memphis
Public Affairs Officer Elizabeth Clement Webb
(202) 297-5357
June 26, 2018

FBI Warns of Dramatic Increase in Business E-Mail Compromise (BEC) Schemes

NASHVILLE, TN—The FBI is warning potential victims of a dramatic rise in the business e-mail compromise (BEC) scheme that targets businesses and has resulted in massive financial losses in Nashville and other cities.

BEC schemes are sophisticated scams targeting businesses that regularly authorize wire transfer payments via e-mail. Scammers spoof company e-mail or use social engineering to assume the identity of the CEO, a company attorney, or trusted vendor. They research employees who manage money and use language specific to the company they are targeting, then they request a wire fraud transfer using dollar amounts that lend legitimacy.

While the scheme is called BEC, it is important to note that the scam is always evolving and can take on varying appearances depending on whom the perpetrators are targeting. The BEC scam is linked to other forms of fraud, including but not limited to: requesting W-2 forms, romance, lottery, employment, vehicle, and rental scams. Victims range from large corporations to tech companies to small businesses to non-profit organizations.

The FBI encourages all individuals who believe they have fallen victim to a scam to report it to the FBI using www.IC3.gov. These reports help the FBI to investigate individuals and groups who are committing these crimes and are essential to the FBI’s investigations.