CEO Fraud Social Engineering Scam On The Rise

Spear-PhishingKnown variously as the “CEO fraud,” or the “business email compromise,” highly sophisticated cyber criminals try to social engineer businesses that work with foreign suppliers. This swindle is increasingly common and targets businesses that regularly perform (foreign) wire transfer payments.  In January 2015, the FBI warned that cyber thieves stole nearly $215 million from businesses in the previous 14 months through such scams, which start when crooks spoof or hijack the email accounts of business executives or employees.

The CEO's email gets spoofed while the CEO is travelling and employees are tasked to transfer large amounts of money out of the country.  In February, con artists made off with a whopping $17.2 million from one of Omaha, Nebraska’s oldest companies — The Scoular Co., an employee-owned commodities trader.

According to, an executive with the 800-employee company wired the money in installments last summer to a bank in China after receiving emails ordering him to do so.

It is very important to step employees through effective security awareness training to make sure they do not fall for social engineering attacks like this.  Find out how affordable this is for your organization today.

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