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Staying Safe from Business Email Compromise Scams

As cybercriminals continue to refine their tactics, a concerning trend has emerged in recent years - the rise of business email compromise (BEC) scams. These sophisticated scams involve cybercriminals impersonating trusted sources and exploiting unsuspecting victims for financial gain or sensitive data. In this post, we’ll break down what BEC scams are, who they target, and how your business can protect itself.

What are BEC Scams?

BEC scams leverage carefully crafted fake emails that appear to come from within an business or a known partner. These emails seem authentic and convince the recipient to wire money, share sensitive data, or provide personally identifiable information. Common types of BEC scams include:

  • False Invoice Schemes: The criminal poses as a supplier and tricks the victim into paying fake invoices.

  • CEO Fraud: The criminal impersonates an executive and tricks the victim into transferring funds.

  • Data Theft: The criminal poses as an HR rep to steal employee or executive personal information.

Who Do BEC Scams Target?

BEC scams target any employee who has access to financial transactions or sensitive company data. All it takes is one manipulated employee to put the entire business at risk of data breaches and substantial financial losses.

How to Protect Your Business

The most effective defense against BEC scams is continuous employee education and implementation of cybersecurity best practices. Here are some key strategies:

  • Train Employees: Teach employees how to spot and stop BEC scams. For example, never share personal/work information on social media, avoid opening emails from unknown senders, and be wary of requests for sensitive details.

  • Vet Financial Transactions: Put procedures in place requiring verification of all invoices, fund transfers, and payment requests before they are processed.

  • Limit Data Access: Only provide access to sensitive company data on a need-to-know basis. Use access controls and multi-factor authentication.

  • Strengthen Security: Ensure all devices have adequate protections like VPN, antivirus, email filtering, encryption, and firewalls. Regularly update all security applications.

The Bottom Line

BEC scams are on the rise and pose a real threat to business of all sizes. By training employees, verifying financial transactions, restricting data access, and strengthening cybersecurity, you can keep your business safe, secure, and financially stable. Stay vigilant against these sophisticated social engineering scams.


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