SACRAMENTO—During National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Sacramento Field Office is reminding the business community about business email compromise (BEC). BEC is a sophisticated scam targeting anyone who performs legitimate electronic payments such as wire or automated clearing house transfers. In a typical BEC scheme, the victim receives an email they believe is from a company they normally conduct business with, but this specific email requests funds be sent to a new account or otherwise alters the standard payment practices.
BEC has been a major concern for years. In 2019, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) recorded 23,775 complaints and more than $1.7 billion in losses due to BEC fraud schemes. In April 2020, the IC3 issued a public service announcement alerting the business community about an anticipated rise in BEC due to uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, IC3 had seen an increase in BEC frauds targeting municipalities purchasing personal protective equipment or other supplies needed in the fight against COVID-19.