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FOS Blog

22 Dec

Business Email Compromise is About to Spike

Business Email Compromise is About to Spike

As if 2020 hasn’t thrown enough new fraud schemes our way, law enforcement is warning of an anticipated increase in business email compromise (BEC) in the coming months.  Why now?  BEC fraud can be easily perpetrated from the comfort of the fraudster’s home and doesn’t take much to achieve success –

According to FinCEN Advisory FIN-2019-A005, BEC fraud targets business entity customers of financial institutions and even financial institutions themselves.  The fraudsters focus on customers, who frequently use email to conduct operations such as payments to suppliers or clients.  Your branches or Wire Department may receive an email from someone signing off as the CEO or the admin from whom you would expect to receive requests via email directing them to send out a wire or to get account information.  This puts the need for authentication controls and adequate personnel training front and center – a quick call to the customer to discuss the request not only bolsters customer service, but can save the customer from financial loss and your institution from reputational risk.

If the fraudster succeeds in bypassing your controls, its time to file the SAR.  The FinCEN advisory includes a list of information you should include in the SAR to assist law enforcement, specific fields which must be completed (Fields 42 and 44 are key), and specific terminology for the narrative.  Remember different law enforcement agencies use varying search methods during SAR reviews, so keep the advisory close during completion and secondary review of the SAR.

For additional information contact the author at

For more information for yourself and your team, head over to FinCEN: