Major Global Crackdown on Email Compromise Schemes

Some cybercriminals operate a fraudulent scheme that is called a Business Email Compromise (BEC). In this crime, funds are stolen by convincing a person to send a bank wire to a dummy bank account for what the criminals claim is a legitimate transaction. Businesses that conduct operations that frequently make use of bank wires are the main targets for these criminals. Senior citizens and individuals may be targeted as well, especially if they are involved in a real estate transaction.

Under a program called “Operation Wire Wire,” federal law enforcement, with the cooperation of international authorities, were able to make a total of 74 arrests of alleged criminals. 42 were arrested in America, 29 arrests were made in Nigeria, and one arrest was made in each of the countries of Poland, Mauritius, and Canada. The law enforcement efforts in the United States were a coordinated investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office.

The investigation lasted six months. In addition to making the arrests, the investigation captured $2.4 million of stolen funds and authorities also blocked the illegal transfers of $14 million.

How does a business email compromise scheme work?

The BEC scheme is financial cybercrime. It is a sophisticated fraud that attacks employees with the authority to transfer company funds by bank wire. Businesses that work with foreign suppliers and those that regularly send bank wires are especially vulnerable. This fraud is usually achieved by obtaining the email account of a senior level employee for a company and impersonating this person to direct other employees to send a bank wire to the criminal’s account. Besides stealing money, the criminals may also try to obtain confidential information such as the employee tax records.

This fraud began in Nigeria. Now, through the involvement of transnational criminal groups, it spread across the globe. The use of Americans increased the success of this fraudulent scheme in the United States.


Companies continue to lose millions of dollars each year due to this scam. Consult with the security experts at Sentree Systems Corp. in Indianapolis, serving central Indiana and the surrounding cities of Avon, Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, and Plainfield. They will help implement a more secure approval process for bank wire transfers, improve email security, and can create an ongoing employee education program to help employees spot criminal business email compromise attempts.


CEO, Author of the #1 Risk to Small Businesses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}