News Release: Bureau of Financial Institutions Warns of Business Email Compromise Scams

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Department of Professional & Financial Regulation State of Maine Logo

Contact: Lloyd LaFountain, Superintendent
Phone:  (207) 624-8570
TTY:  Please Call Maine Relay 711

 

Maine’s Bureau of Financial Institutions Cautions Companies and Employees about Business Email Compromise (BEC) Scams 

 

GARDINER – Maine’s Bureau of Financial Institutions is warning company owners and employees about Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams.  Several banks in Maine have reported BEC attempts targeting their commercial customers.

“Business Email Compromise scams aren’t new, but their frequency and sophistication appear to be increasing,” Superintendent Lloyd LaFountain said.  “Banks and credit unions have heightened their awareness about BEC scams, but it’s important for businesses—large and small—to know they can be targeted anytime.”

BEC scams, also referred to as CEO fraud, seek to obtain a wire transfer of money from an employee in the finance or Accounts Payables office of a business.  This is done by sending an e-mail to the employee, or a series of messages, posing as a senior executive of the company.  National reports indicate that the e-mails have become more convincing and more difficult to detect as being fraudulent.  Additionally, some scammers are sending multiple messages over time to make sure they have the trust of their targets before asking for the wire transfer.

“Although some BEC attempts can be identified by closely reading the e-mail, these and other types of scams often evolve over time and become more difficult to recognize,” LaFountain said.  “We live in an age when requests for money or for our personal information over the phone or through e-mail should be carefully evaluated and confirmed as being authentic.”

The Bureau of Financial Institutions encourages anyone receiving an e-mail requesting a wire transfer of funds to a vendor or other entity to double-check with the person requesting the transaction by speaking directly with that individual or sending a separate message to that person.  Additionally, the Bureau reminds all consumers to never give out their Social Security Number, banking or credit card numbers or other personal information unless they are certain the request is legitimate.  Further, the Bureau reminds the public that most financial institutions and government agencies never make these requests through unsolicited e-mails or phone calls.

More information about financial scams and personal financial literacy is available on the Bureau’s website www.maine.gov/pfr/financialinstitutions.  Assistance with questions, concerns or other issues involving banks or credit unions can also be obtained by calling 1-800-965-5235 (toll free in Maine) or 207-624-8570.


The Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions is an agency within the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (
www.maine.gov/pfr), which encourages sound business practices through high quality, impartial and efficient oversight of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations.