FBI: Email swindlers have now redirected as much as $12bn in payments

The FBI’s IC3 unit is warning that email swindling scams, known as business email compromise, have now conned businesses and individuals to wire $12.5 billion to scammer accounts in the last five years. 

According to IC3, the value of reported losses to BEC scams have more than doubled between December 2016 and May 2018 and they’re happening to victims in all 50 states in the US and in 150 countries.

Now IC3 is calling BEC — where fraudster’s study a target and compromise email account of CEOs or finance administrators to orchestrate misdirected transfers— a”12 billion dollar scam” . That’s still smaller than some estimates of the cost of cybercrime to consumers, which Symantec said in 2017 reached $172 billion.    

The new figures nonetheless mark a massive increase IC3’s November 2017 BEC update where it reported total worldwide “exposed losses” at $5.3 billion and 40,203 victims in the US and abroad. 

Exposed losses include actual and attempted scams in the US, so actual losses may be smaller assuming all instances of BEC fraud are known to the FBI.