Sep 14, 2023
The FBI IC3’s June 2023 PSA (Alert Number 1-060923-PSA) reveals cybercrime — more specifically business email compromise (BEC) — growing in intensity. According to the report, business email compromise within real estate was at an all-time high with reported victim loss totaling nearly $446M.
Awareness is critical to fighting fraud. To help you understand the growing threat, we’ve compiled key takeaways from the report, provided a refresher on business email compromise, and included an infographic you can download and share to educate your partners and customers below.
The latest report showed a dramatic rise in scams targeting real estate in 2022. All parties — including buyers, sellers, and agents — were unfortunate victims of fraud in 2022. Here are key statistics from the report:
For more, review the full I-060923-PSA alert on ic3.gov.
Business email compromise is a sophisticated cyber attack involving the impersonation of a trusted contact.
It begins when hackers gain access to critical accounts and data via phishing. Once email accounts are compromised, fraudsters can set up automated techniques to avoid detection, impersonate the account, and manipulate the transaction to their benefit. Funds are frequently directed into cryptocurrency wallets and transferred from account to account to create a complex and nearly untraceable network of fraudulent transactions.
No one is immune to business email compromise. Business email compromise exists in all 50 states and over 177 countries. The increased reliance on virtual transactions and digital communications over the last few years has made businesses of all sizes more susceptible to fraudsters.
Fraudsters browse publically accessible information through social media or online directory sites to learn about a victim, impersonate a key contact, and exploit their trust. And spotting their attempts is difficult. In many cases, fraudsters simply insert a hyphen or change a single letter from a trusted domain or email address. This subtle deception paired with familiar language and “urgent” requests to wire the funds is called social engineering.
It only takes one successful attempt to derail a transaction and steal funds or learn sensitive data like social security numbers, wage and tax information, or other personally identifiable information (PPI).
The FBI recommends a few ways to stay ahead of business email compromise and other types of cybercrime attacks.
The June PSA represents the growing threat of business email compromise to professionals and businesses worldwide. No matter your role within your organization, it’s crucial to educate yourself to protect your transactions and customers. We hope the infographic below can help you spread awareness of the rise in real estate business email compromise (BEC).
For more on fraud protection and prevention, subscribe to our weekly newsletter The Wire. And if you or someone you know has become a victim of fraud, speak to one of our experts. We can help you recover funds or stop wire fraud from happening in the first place.
Will is a Content Marketing Manager at CertifID. His multi-disciplinary experience as a copywriter and designer has powered growth for numerous consumer, tech, and real estate companies from the startup to enterprise level.