There was a significant surge in attempted wire fraud globally in the last half of 2016, according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Fraudsters attempted to steal $5.3 billion through email schemes from October 2013 through December. This figure shows a sharp increase in fraudulent attempts according to previous reports from the FBI stating that such efforts totaled $3.1 billion from October 2013 to May 2016, according to a global survey of law enforcement agencies. This means that about $2.1 billion in fraudulent attempts occurred in just the last seven months of 2016 – a rather staggering figure to say the least.
The number of fraudulent email attempts, in which fraudsters, posing as senior corporate executives conducting business as usual, requested wire transfers almost doubled from May to December of last year. According to the FBI, it rose from 22,143 to 40,203. And as if that’s not enough, Robert Holmes, a source who studies email compromise for a security firm named Proofpoint Inc, says that the incidents reported by the FBI may only represent 20 percent of the actual total, and that actual losses could as much as double the totals that the FBI originally quoted. He says that the U.S., along with other developed countries around the world, watches the losses continue to grow as fraudsters become savvier and delve further into finance departments as they look for vulnerable parties to take advantage of.
So, home buyers, businesses and citizens everywhere beware, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If there is anything unusual or foreign about the process or practice, stop and investigate; listen to yourself and consult superior resources to get to the bottom of the situation before giving sensitive information or wiring money to unfamiliar sources.
Summarized from original article: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cyber-fraud-email-idUSKBN1811QH