Business Email Compromise (BEC) - The Art of Deception

The organized criminal groups that engage in business e-mail compromise scams are extremely sophisticated. Here are some of the online tools they use to target and exploit their victims:

Spoofing e-mail accounts and websites: Slight variations on legitimate addresses (john.kelly@abccompany.com vs. john.kelley@abccompany.com) fool victims into thinking fake accounts are authentic. The criminals then use a spoofing tool to direct e-mail responses to a different account that they control. The victim thinks he is corresponding with his CEO, but that is not the case.

Spear-phishing: Bogus e-mails believed to be from a trusted sender prompt victims to reveal confidential information to the BEC perpetrators.

Malware: Used to infiltrate company networks and gain access to legitimate e-mail threads about billing and invoices. That information is used to make sure the suspicions of an accountant or financial officer aren’t raised when a fraudulent wire transfer is requested. Malware also allows criminals undetected access to a victim’s data, including passwords and financial account information.

If you or your company have been victimized by a BEC scam, it’s important to act quickly. Contact the Bank immediately. 
 
Don’t Be a Victim
The business e-mail compromise scam has resulted in companies and organizations losing billions of dollars. But as sophisticated as the fraud is, there is an easy solution to thwart it: face-to-face or voice-to-voice communications.
 
“The best way to avoid being exploited is to verify the authenticity of requests to send money by walking into the CEO’s office or speaking to him or her directly on the phone,” said Special Agent Martin Licciardo. “Don’t rely on e-mail alone.”
 
Here are other methods businesses have employed to safeguard against BEC:

◾Create intrusion detection system rules that flag e-mails with extensions that are similar to company e-mail. For example, legitimate e-mail of abc_company.com would flag fraudulent e-mail of abc-company.com.

◾Create an e-mail rule to flag e-mail communications where the “reply” e-mail address is different from the “from” e-mail address shown.

◾Color code virtual correspondence so e-mails from employee/internal accounts are one color and e-mails from non-employee/external accounts are another.

◾Verify changes in vendor payment location by adding additional two-factor authentication such as having secondary sign-off by company personnel.

◾Confirm requests for transfers of funds by using phone verification as part of a two-factor authentication; use previously known numbers, not the numbers provided in the e-mail request.

◾Carefully scrutinize all e-mail requests for transfer of funds to determine if the requests are out of the ordinary.
 
 
 

Trusteer Rapport

Trusteer Rapport is lightweight security software that helps to protect your online banking communication from being stolen by criminals. Trusteer Rapport is highly recommended by Citizens Bank as an additional layer of security to your own online security best practices, including anti-virus or security software you already use. By protecting your internet connection and creating a tunnel for safer online communication with Bank-By-Net, Trusteer Rapport blocks many malicious attempts to steal your money or account information. 

Even as effective as Trusteer Rapport is, nothing can guarantee complete protection from fraudulent or criminal attacks. Therefore, it is always recommended that you be constantly vigilant about your computer’s security and that you continue to monitor your bank accounts for any suspicious activity. 

To install Trusteer Rapport on your computer, login to Bank-By-Net, and you will be presented the option to download the Trusteer Rapport software. Citizens Bank customers can also download Trusteer Rapport by visiting Trusteer Rapport for Businesses.