Federal Bureau of Investigation says 74 arrested in global crackdown on email fraud

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 13, 2018

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has announced arresting 74 individuals for their involvement in business email compromise (BEC) schemes that are created to steal money by intercepting and hijacking wire transfers from businesses and individuals.

"Operation Wire Wire", a coordinated effort by Interpol, national police forces, and US agencies including the FBI, DoJ, Homeland Security, Treasury Department, Secret Service, and the Postal Inspection Service, was conducted over a six-month period.

"The operation also resulted in the seizure of almost $2.4m, and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers, " a statement by the U.S. department of justice said.

BEC, also known as 'cyber-enabled financial fraud, ' is a sophisticated scam often targeting employees with access to company finances and businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments. The fraudsters convinced people to transfer money by hijacking email addresses and impersonating business partners.

The US said such scams are "prevalent" and pledged to pursue perpetrators "regardless of where they are located". The fraudsters often "enlist and manipulate the money mules through romance scams or "work-at-home" scams", it adds.

Separate research by Proofpoint released in February claimed that by the end of 2017, almost 89% of all organizations studied were targeted by at least one BEC attack - a large jump from the 75% targeted in Q4 2016.

"The devastating effects of BEC and EAC scams on domestic victims impact not only the individual but the global economy", FBI Houston Special Agent Perrye K. Turner said.

"Many people are greedy, and so there will be others ready to quickly step in to take up the task of committing these frauds". If you believe you may have been a target, you can also file a complaint with the IC3.

In a statement published on the agency's website, it said, the operation was a coordinated effort by the federal authorities including the Department of Justice and the FBI aimed at intercepting illegal wire transfers from businesses and individuals across the globe.

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