Spotlight on Business Email Compromise

Posted on Friday, May 4, 2018

There are reports that the Business email compromise (BEC) scam is on the rise. Would you be able to recognize this threat?

Key facts

  • BEC scams have resulted in losses of more than $5 billion dollars worldwide.
  • It is the second-highest cause for monetary losses reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  • In 2017, more than an estimated $30 million was stolen from Canadian businesses using this scam, including $11.8 million from MacEwan University.

What is it?

BEC scams can appear in a few different forms, the main principle behind the threat is tricking a business into a paying a sum of money or providing sensitive information to a fraudulent source. This can be done through methods such as: 

  • an email appearing to be from a high-level executive asking an employee to pay an invoice
  • a seemingly legitimate supplier requesting an urgent payment under threat of termination of service or requests from “legitimate” institutions requesting sensitive information.

Read about a recent BEC attempt at the University.

Protect yourself

  • Read more about Business Email Compromise scams so you are well informed and can be vigilant in spotting these attacks
  • Be wary about unsolicited emails particularly those requesting payments or urgent action
  • Contact the organization if you are suspicious about the email or invoice
  • Ensure University policies and procedures are followed when making payments, or disclosing private information
  • If you have not yet completed Digital Self-Defence training, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible. The training is available to full-time, non-teaching staff and will help you with strategies to identify and protect yourself and others against attacks. Employees are our first line of defence against cyber-attacks.
  • If you processed a payment to a fraudulent account, immediately contact Financial Resources to see if the payment can be stopped.
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