The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA OCI), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have released a joint advisory warning that scammers are launching business email compromise (BEC) attacks to divert and steal deliveries of food and ingredients worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“While BEC is most commonly used to steal money, in cases like this criminals spoof emails and domains to impersonate employees of legitimate companies to order food products,” the advisory states. “The victim company fulfills the order and ships the goods, but the criminals do not pay for the products. Criminals may repackage stolen products for individual sale without regard for food safety regulations and sanitation practices, risking contamination or omitting necessary information about ingredients, allergens, or expiration dates. Counterfeit goods of lesser quality can damage a company’s reputation.”
Most of the thefts involved large shipments of powdered milk, which are usually sold on the black market to buyers in China. According to the Register, foreign-made powdered milk is still in high demand by parents in China following a 2008 incident in which thousands of children were hospitalized by a melamine-contaminated domestic brand.
The joint advisory describes several of these BEC attacks, including the following:
“From at least June through August 2022, unknown criminal actors used the identity of a US company to fraudulently attempt to obtain store credit and/or place large purchase orders to procure shipments of powdered milk and other ingredients from multiple suppliers,” the advisory states. “Industry dairy vendors notified the company that the unknown third party created falsified credit applications, purchase orders, and invoices in their attempts to place large orders for powdered milk. In one instance, the attempted purchase orders totaled nearly $230,000.
In another instance, a vendor shipped two truckloads of powdered milk valued at approximately $200,000. The criminal actors sent emails using the names of the victim company’s president and other employees, used the company’s logo, a variation of the company’s name, and an email address that varied only slightly from real company addresses.”
New-school security awareness training can teach your employees to recognize targeted social engineering attacks.
The Register has the story.