FinCEN Warns Banks of Business Email Compromise Scams

by chebbi abir

Business email compromise schemes—though which fraudsters target businesses and their fund transfers—generated more than $300 million a month in illicit revenue during 2018, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said today. As it works to combat this type of fraud, the agency issued a trend analysis of business email compromise schemes, as well as an updated advisory for financial institutions.

The trend analysis showed that BEC schemes were most often targeted at the manufacturing and construction sectors, according to Suspicious Activity Report filings from 2017 and 2018. FinCEN noted that the nature of BEC schemes continues to evolve; for example, the agency noted that the number of schemes involving the impersonation of a CEO or other high-ranking official declined between 2017 and 2018, while the usage of fraudulent vendor or client invoices rose during that period.

The updated advisory includes operational definitions for email compromise fraud, provides information on the targeting of non-business entities and data by email compromise schemes, highlights general trends in BEC schemes, and alerts financial institutions to risks associated with the targeting of vulnerable business processes.

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