FBI Phoenix warns public about increase in business email scams

May 20, 2022, 2:00 PM
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — FBI Phoenix is warning the public about an increase of business email scams, which has been the top reported scam in Arizona over the past five years.

The FBI said fraudsters have started using virtual meeting platforms to hack emails and use leaders’ credentials to initiate wire transfers.

The transfers are often transferred immediately to cryptocurrency wallets and quickly distributed, making money recovery efforts difficult.

The scam normally targets businesses working with foreign suppliers or those regularly performing wire transfer payments.

Typically, the scheme had been initiated through compromised vendor emails, W-2 information requests, real estate endeavors and requests for large amounts of gift cards.

The business email scams — also known as email account scams — cost Arizonans more than $22 million in losses in 2021.

The FBI is offering several tips to bring awareness to individuals and companies:

• Look at the email header of the sender. Keep an eye out for email addresses that look similar to, but not the same as the ones used by your work supervisors or peers.
• Set up two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication on any account that allows it and never disable it.
• Be wary of requests to buy multiple gift cards, even if the request seems ordinary.
• Be especially wary if the requestor is pressuring you to act quickly.
• Watch out for grammatical errors or odd phrasing.
• Be wary if the sender asks you to send the gift card number and PIN back to them.
• Don’t rely on email alone. Contact the person or the company directly to verify any payment changes.
• Be cognizant of what you are posting on social media. Attackers will look for things on social media to lend credibility to what they are saying and the person they are pretending to be.

Anyone who believes they’ve been a victim of these scams is asked to contact FBI Phoenix at 623-466-1999.

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FBI Phoenix warns public about increase in business email scams