BEC scams are on the rise.

bec scams

According to the Associated Press, Evaldas Rimasauskas pleaded guilty to wire fraud last week in a case that is making headlines. What makes this case unique is that the scam victims were two of the world’s most powerful tech companies. You would think that they would be immune to such attacks. It is easy to put blame on scam victims for not doing their due diligence. However, as seen in this story, even Google can be scammed.

As the stakes rise, scammers become more sophisticated and bold in their techniques. This particular type of scam carried out by Rimasauskas and his associates is referred to by the FBI as BEC scams. BEC stands for business email compromise. Scammers use sophisticated tools like spear phishing to gain access to a company’s internal systems. Once they are inside, they may spend months studying how the company functions, the CEO’s email writing style, and how the billing works. When they finally decide to strike, they will wait for the perfect moment, perhaps when the CEO is traveling. Then, the scammer will send an email from an email address that looks just like the CEO’s account to an employee asking them to make a wire transfer.

What makes BEC scams so difficult to recover from

Like any wire transfer scam, once the money is sent, it can be very difficult to retrieve. In this case, presumably due to the power and reach of the two social media giants, they were able to recover most of their funds. According to the FBI, companies in over 100 countries have been targeted, big and small. Losses to date are in the billions.

In the Google BEC scams, the Lithuanian sent fake invoices that looked real enough, they fooled Google. And they didn’t do this just once, but multiple times between 2013 and 2016. They achieved this by presenting themselves as Quanta Computer, a Taiwanese company that has actually done business with Google previously. According to prosecutors, he created a new company in Latvia called Quanta Computer, named precisely like the Taiwanese one.

Every business needs to be looking out for BEC scams

Sure, bigger companies have more to lose but companies all across the world, large and small have already been hit by similar scams. Like every scam, the scammers rely on deception. But what makes this type of scam so dangerous is the lengths the scammers go to hide their deceptions, creating fake companies, fake bank accounts, hacking, phishing, etc. In many ways, the tactics employed in BEC scams is similar to those employed Forex, Binary Options, and other online trading scammers.