ARIZONA—FBI Phoenix is warning the public about an increase in business email compromise (BEC) – also known as email account compromise (EAC) fraud. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) this scam has been the number one reported scam in Arizona for money lost over the last five years.
This was also the number one reported scam in money loss nationally. In 2021, the IC3 received 19,954 BEC/EAC complaints with adjusted losses at nearly $2.4 billion nationally. Arizona accounted for more than $22 million in losses with only 388 victims.
The second highest reported scam both nationally and in Arizona was investment fraud. In 2021, IC3 received 20,561 investment complaints with adjusted losses at nearly $1.5 billion. Arizona reported 349 victims with losses of more than $20 million.
BEC is a scam targeting businesses (not individuals) working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses regularly performing wire transfer payments. email Account Compromise (EAC) is a similar scam which targets individuals. These sophisticated scams are carried out by fraudsters compromising email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorized transfer of funds.
The scheme has evolved from simple hacking or spoofing of business and personal email accounts and a request to send wire payments to fraudulent bank accounts. Historically, this scam involved compromised vendor emails, requests for W-2 information, targeting of the…