Business Email Scams on the Rise

Cybercrime is all over the news. It seems like there’s a new one reported every day. Well, that’s because it is a daily occurrence. One particular type of cybercrime on the rise is the Business Email Compromise, or BEC. A BEC is a hack where the criminal gets into valid email accounts and poses as a trusted party, like your banker or a vendor, and getting you to send them money. 

Business email compromise scams are on the rise, up 33% from last year, according to the FBI. Losses totaled nearly $2.4 billion in 2021, more than ten times more than just seven years ago. Victims include federal government agencies, insurance companies, energy infrastructure, and computer system vendors. Those are some highly sophisticated players that have invested tons of money in cybersecurity. 

So, what chance does a small business have defending itself against all those sophisticated cybercriminals? Systems are only as safe as the security practices of the least knowledgeable user. All it takes to open the door to a cybercriminal is one person clicking on the wrong link from an unknown source, or from a hacker masquerading as a trusted sender.

Believe it or not, implementing these six low-cost tips can help organizations of all sizes follow safe cybersecurity practices. Even more important, train all team members on safe cyber and send them periodic reminders.

  1. Keep software systems up to date and use a good anti-virus program.
  1. Examine the email address and URLs in all correspondence to detect a scammer mimicking a legitimate site or email address.
  1. Scrutinize all electronic requests for a payment or fund transfers, even from a trusted party.
  1. Ignore text messages, emails, or phone calls asking you to update or verify your account information and go to the company’s website to see if something needs your attention.
  1. Never open unexpected attachments until verifying the sender’s email address and use virus scan before opening any document.
  1. Be extra suspicious of messages that urge immediate action.

With cybercrime in the daily news and business email compromise on the rise, small businesses need to defend themselves. Protecting your systems and your money doesn’t have to be expensive. Promoting a few low-cost cybersecurity tips can help business or all sizes and types avoid becoming a victim of business email compromise.