Once riddled with typos written by non-native English speakers, email scams were once awkward cash grabs, but that is no longer the case, federal officials say.
Email scams have become sophisticated frauds costing individuals and American businesses billions of dollars a year, according to reports.
Over the past five years, estimated losses from scams called business-email compromises have soared. According to data published by the FBI, estimated annual losses topped $1.7 billion in 2019 up from $1.2 billion in 2018.
The number of complaints the bureau received for email-account compromises rose nearly 17% between 2018 and 2019, according to the data.
According to federal officials, the latest in-vogue attack involves fake requests to divert payroll funds.
This scam targets a business’s payroll or HR department. The email, purporting to be from an employee, asks to update direct-deposit information for that pay period. But the funds go into an account controlled by the cyber-criminal.
Criminals are also shifting to the actual hacking of email accounts in place of using “spoofed” emails, according to experts.
However, spoofed email attacks are still prevalent. In a recent high-profile incident, “Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran lost nearly $400,000 to scammers. The criminals imitated her assistant’s email address by misspelling it by one letter.
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