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BBB warns of e-mail scam targeting people through work

Last Updated Sep 26, 2019 at 12:34 pm PDT

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Summary

The Better Business Bureau says business email scams are increasing in frequency

An investigative study by the BBB shows eight-in-10 businesses in North America got at least one email that was a scam

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Scammers targeting people through work have apparently cost Canadians tens-of-millions of dollars since 2016.

A study by the Better Business Bureau has found business email scams are increasing in frequency.

The BBB’s investigation shows eight-in-10 businesses in North America got at least one email that was a scam.

“Business email compromise fraud is an email phishing scam that typically targets C-level staff,” the BBB explains, adding those targeted normally authorize payments or are people who pay bills for a company, government organization, or non-profit.

Types of the so-called Business Email Compromise (BEC) scam include someone posing as a “reliable source” asking an accountant, CEO, CFO, or other staff member for a wire transfer, to buy gift cards, or send personal information, “often for a plausible reason.”

Complaints about these scams were received around the world, but the BBB notes most of them were reported by U.S. victims.

Since 2016, the bureau says the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has received more than 1,200 reports of the scam, totaling $34 million in losses.

According to the BBB’s report, the average BEC loss related to wire transfers has been $46,000. That number is estimated to be between $1,300 to $2,600 for losses involving gift cards.