(CBSDFW.COM) — Few people would ignore an email from their boss. But consider this an excuse to put off a response.
“The scammers know very specific details about you, your company and an imminent business transaction,” said Phylissia Clark, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB held a news conference Thursday about a phenomenon known as BEC or “business email compromise,” that targets businesses and individuals who handle money as part of their jobs.
Victims of BEC have reported losing $26 billion since 2016, according to the BBB. The study notes 80 percent of business received these phishing emails in 2018.
Oftentimes scammers will spoof emails that look like they’re from a C-suite executive at an employee’s company by simply gleaning information from LinkedIn or public company websites.
Then, the crooks ask for speedy payments, bank information or W-2 forms.
Other BEC scams include:
- -Vendors requesting their payments be sent to another bank account
- -Employees requesting their pay check be deposited into another bank account
- -Boss or charity figure asking for gift cards on his/her behalf
Gracie Veronica fell victim to another kind of BEC scam. A person pretending to represent her title company diverted funds meant for her closing costs.
“It felt like a ton of bricks had hit me,” Veronica said.
The day before closing on her home, she wired $45,000 to someone she thought was her title officer.
“I probably won’t be able to keep this house,” Veronica said.
In 2018, the FBI identified more than 11,000 victims of internet real estate fraud.
Together, these individuals lost more than $149 million.
No party is safe from spoofing.
“It’s not just happening to buyers, it’s also happening to title companies where we are getting bogus wire instructions,” said Dawn Moore, the CEO of Allegiance Title Company.
The hallmark red flag of a fake email used to be improper grammar or spelling. But online programs now allow scammers to check their emails.
Susan Rowe, a fraud investigator with American National Bank, said recipients should be wary of any email that incorporates the word, “kindly” in a request for money or a signature.
“Verify, verify, verify,” Rowe said.