As people spend more time online, fraudsters and scammers are doing the same, and they’re getting increasingly creative. 2021 fraud trends are sophisticated and daring — mostly because they seem like ordinary, even mundane, communications. If you’d like to learn how to protect yourself and how to prevent fraud, read on.
BEC or Business Email Compromise
Business email compromise, or BEC attacks, are a type of online crime that uses email fraud to steal money from or otherwise negatively impact businesses, governments, and other organizations. Targets of BEC attacks suffer from a loss of trust within their team and with their customer base. They also usually lose a whole lot of money. How much? Between June 2016 and July 2019, the FBI found over 166,000 instances of U.S.-based and international BEC attacks. The “total exposed dollar loss” was over $26 billion.
One of the most common types of BEC schemes is phishing. Phishing is a fraudulent effort made by a cybercriminal to obtain sensitive data or information, like passwords or credit card numbers, by trying to pass as a trustworthy entity, such as a co-worker or friend, through email. The “Nigerian Prince” email scam is an example of phishing.
Invoice fraud occurs when someone creates a fake or forged invoice and knowingly sends it to a business or client in order to receive payment they are not owed.
61% of payment fraud attacks in 2019 were from invoice fraud. Even Google and Facebook are not immune. The tech giants paid $123 million to a Lithuanian cybercriminal who emailed them forged invoices and documents.
What to Do to Protect Yourself
Thankfully, there are ways to stay ahead of BEC attacks.
To protect against phishing:
- Be cautious about all email communications
- Never click on a link or open an attachment in a suspicious email
- Never enter personal, identifying or financial information into a pop-up screen
- Install a phishing filter on your web browser and email app
To protect against invoice fraud:
- Develop a consistent and company-wide matching process to compare information on invoices with supporting documents, receipts, etc.
- Keep track of invoice amounts and invoice activity
- Have a vendor approval process in place
- Automate all payable accounts
Gaining knowledge about cybercrime and fraud is the first step in keeping yourself and your resources safe in the 21st century.
Do you need a safe and secure credit union account, or would you like to talk to someone about financial services? Reach out to a TDECU representative today.