Email Scammers Aren’t Just Targeting Consumers Anymore—They’re Going After Your Business

Companies lose $2.3 billion

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The FBI this week issued an alert warning businesses of email scams. 

The bureau said the type of fraud it refers to as "business email compromise" has cost companies around $2.3 billion globally in the 15 months leading up to February. The FBI's data includes cases from 17,642 businesses—likely including major brands—in 79 countries, and it found a 270 percent jump in exposed loss since January 2015.

Indeed, internet grift, long considered mainly as a consumer concern, has become a challenge for large corporations and small businesses alike.  

The fraudsters spoof company email accounts and employ other tactics to trick employees into believing they're getting money-transfer requests from executives, corporate attorneys or trusted vendors.

The FBI's memo, posted by its Phoenix, Ariz., division on Monday, stated that the scammers "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." 

Tom Brown, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan, told Reuters, "It's a low-risk, high-reward crime. It's going to continue to get worse before it gets better." 

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.