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Federal Bureau of Investigation busts worldwide email fraud ring that stole millions

Federal Bureau of Investigation busts worldwide email fraud ring that stole millions”

The FBI announced 74 arrests on Monday (June 11), as part of a global law enforcement operation aimed at disrupting worldwide business e-mail compromise schemes that are created to intercept and hijack wire transfers.

"Operation Wire Wire", a coordinated effort by Interpol, national police forces, and U.S. agencies including the FBI, DoJ, Homeland Security, Treasury Department, Secret Service, and the Postal Inspection Service, was conducted over a six-month period.

Federal authorities have arrested 74 people - including 42 in the United States - for allegedly hijacking wire transfer funds through a sophisticated email scam, the Justice Department said Monday.

Law enforcement also seized almost $2.4 million as part of the operation, and recovered approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers by disrupting the BEC schemes, the DOJ said.

The US department also said the same criminal organisations that perpetrate BEC - cyber-enabled financial fraud - also exploit individual victims, often real estate purchasers, the elderly, and others.

BEC scams typically involve messages that impersonate a company official requesting the urgent payment of funds, resulting in fraudulent wire transfers or checks. The scammers may also target personally identifiable information or employee tax records in addition to money.

Authorities also went after "money mules" - "witting or unwitting accomplices" who receive the money from the victims and transfer it as directed by the fraudsters.

Separate research by Proofpoint released in February claimed that by the end of 2017, almost 89% of all organizations studied were targeted by at least one BEC attack - a large jump from the 75% targeted in Q4 2016.

"Foreign citizens perpetrate many BEC scams". "Law enforcement agents executed over 51 domestic actions, including search warrants, money mule warning letters and asset seizure warrants totaling almost $1 million", the Justice Department statement notes.

If you believe you've fallen victim to a scam, you can report it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation here.

The schemes were created to intercept wire transfers from businesses and individuals, including many senior citizens.



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