Scam Alert: Hackers stealing billions posing as vendors, employers

Warning: Scammers are pretending to be people you work with, and more people are falling victim every day.

A new report out by the Better Business Bureau reveals more people are falling for business email scams, costing billions of dollars.

Bad guys pose as bosses looking to have employees send personal information or vendors providing updated banking information. These scammers not only target businesses but nonprofits and government agencies as well.

The City of Naples fell victim to this type of scam over the summer, accidentally sending $700,00 to someone posing as its vendor.

The BBB said the best defense against these scams is to educate everyone who works for you and everyone you do business with.


“Training your employees,” said Bryan Oglesby, BBB director of public relations & outreach. “Sharing this info. with your vendors, your suppliers, with coworkers, with other companies out there, the more companies that are aware of this type of fraud.”

Tips to avoid a business email scam

  • Secure accounts: Set up multifactor authentication for email logins and other changes in email settings. Be sure to verify changes in information about customers, employees, or vendors.
  • Train staff: Create a secure culture at your office by training employees on internet security. Make it a policy to confirm all change and payment requests by phone rather than relying on email.

If you’ve been a victim of fraud

  • Call the bank to stop payment on the falsely made charge.
  • Report it to the FBI in the U.S. or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in Canada. If a report is filed within 48 hours, there is a chance the money can be recovered.
  • Complain to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. IC3 also asks people to report unsuccessful BEC attempts as well. Information from attempts may help establish patterns or identify mule bank accounts.

If you get an email providing new bank information or requesting payment, pick up the phone, and call to confirm.

If you have been a victim of fraud, report it to the FBI. If a report is filed within 48 hours, there is a chance you can get your money back.

MORE: FBI – Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

Reporter:Allison Gormly
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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