EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Imagine your boss sends you an email to buy a bunch of gift cards to give away as employee incentives — ASAP — and says to respond to the email with the cards’ serial numbers.
You do as you’re told, but when you text your boss to say the task is completed, they have no idea what you’re even talking about.
You recheck the emails to see that one character of your boss’s email is off and realize the address has been spoofed.
You’re the victim of business email compromise (BEC).
The FBI is warning the Borderland to beware of an increase in BEC crimes that are designed to defraud and exploit unwitting victims and their companies.
Recently, the FBI said there has been a handful of cases targeting El Paso businesses.
“We’ve had seven reports that range anywhere from $400 to $1 million,” said Paul Davis, Cyber Supervisory Special Agent at the FBI El Paso Division.
“Just between January and April, we’ve had a total loss of $2.2 million here in El Paso.”
Scammers will pose as an executive or superior in order to add an additional layer of urgency to throw the target off.
“These actors will push to get the transactions done fast, in a hurry and they need it now,” Davis said.
The FBI warns to be careful with the information that is shared online and on social media and to never click on any unsolicited text messages or emails.
Scammers use a technique called “spearphishing” to trick people into sharing personally identifiable information. The information allows criminals to access a person’s company accounts, data, calendars and more.
Other ways to protect yourself from BEC scams is to set up two-factor authentication on accounts that permit it, verify payment and purchase requests and carefully examine the email address, URL and spelling used in any correspondence.
To report a BEC scam, click here.