tidBiTS
Informs and engages the UNB community on IT developments and news

More than 1 2 Billion in losses from email scams worldwide from October 2013 to August 2015 reported by FBI

Author: ITS

Posted on Sep 3, 2015

Category: IT Announcements , IT Security , General Interest

If you have ever wondered how much money online scammers are making, just look at the FBI’s most recent estimates - In just less than two years, criminals have caused more than $1.2 billion (US) in losses to businesses worldwide.money Using a method of social engineering known as masquerading, scammers are impersonating company executives or outside vendors to request money e-transfers. In many cases they’ll send emails that look like they’re coming from a president, vice-president or other senior position. Sometimes they’ll create web domains that are hard to tell apart from real domains such as using executivename@unb.biz instead of executivename@unb.ca. These criminals often craft official looking messages and use pressures such as time urgency and organizational hierarches in an attempt to bypass financial controls and execute transactions, in most cases wire transfers. Targeted staff members may be particularly vulnerable if the scammers have taken the time to understand how the people they’re impersonating communicate and their style of writing. They may also pay attention to when the people they’re impersonating are away on business or vacation. Here are a few tips for spotting or stopping these fraudulent attempts:
  1. Ask to see the executive or for a phone call to discuss the request.
  2. Be suspicious of any transactions involving new vendors and new accounts not previously used.
  3. Check the e-mail headers (or ask for help from ITS) to verify where an email is coming from.
You can also improve your overall security knowledge by taking UNB’s free online IT Security awareness course. For tips on how to better protect yourself, visit UNB’s Safe Computing webpage. For more information on total losses from email scams, visit Data Breach Today’s article.