Warning: FBI Reports 270% Increase in CEO Fraud This Year


When you offer the computer services Charleston businesses rely on for IT compliance and cyber security, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest cyber threats. And this Spring, the FBI is warning business owners everywhere about a dramatic rise in “CEO Fraud” around the country.

In fact, the bureau estimates that in the last three years alone businesses have been scammed out of $2.3 billion. Around the world, the FBA has found victims in all 50 states and at least 79 countries. So far law enforcement is aware of 17,642 victims and counting.

It gets worse…

In Arizona, the FBI reports that the average loss per scam is $25,000 to $75,000 and that since January 2015, the FBI has seen a 270% increase in identified victims and exposed losses.

So what is CEO fraud, and how do you stop it?
CEO fraud is a form of targeted phishing. Hackers, scammers, and criminals send employees at your company an email posing as a CEO or other high-level leader. The scammers use public data or social media profiles to find out which employees manage money, then send orders to wire emergency funds to an account. Sometimes, the hackers only have to ask employees to reset certain administrative passwords, then they do the rest.

You may be thinking, “This would never happen here. My employees would never fall for something like this.”

But what do they say about saying “never”?

There’s one hard truth that makes this scam work so well: employees are sloppy when it comes to cybersecurity, either because they don’t know any better or because they get lazy.

One 2012 study found that 87% of small businesses had experienced a security breach of some kind in the past year alone. And we know that cyber attacks have been on the rise since then. The federal government itself has seen a 680% increase in cyber security breaches since 2010.

And once again, it gets worse…

The most dangerous threats come from inside an organization…
In the digital age, security experts warn that up to 59% of employees steal some kind of proprietary corporate data if they quit or are fired. Not only that, but fully 80% of cyber security breaches are caused by weak passwords like “admin1” or the name of your company.

So how do you stop CEO fraud?

First, it’s crucial to have local managed IT services that you can trust to set up a secure network. It’s also important to remember that different organizations have different security needs. An accounting firm has different threats than a hospital with IT compliance issues. Our company offers the computer services Charleston businesses rely on 24/7, and you need a business IT consulting firm that can keep your company safe.

As to CEO fraud specifically, you need to warn employees about potential threats like this. It’s also helpful to have specific protocols for money transfers.

If you need IT or cybersecurity solutions, contact us for more information on the best business computer services Charleston has to offer. For more information on CEO fraud, read the FBI’s report here, and listen to the official advice about stopping phishing attacks:
“Tips for Businesses:

  • Be wary of e-mail-only wire transfer requests and requests involving urgency
  • Pick up the phone and verify legitimate business partners
  • Be cautious of mimicked e-mail addresses
  • Practice multi-level authentication

If you have any questions, feel free to share in the comments.