Europol uncovers major BEC scam

Europol uncovers major BEC scam

Law enforcement agencies of European countries have uncovered a complex fraudulent scheme using compromised e-mail and payment systems.

According to Europol, the fraudulent scheme was used by a “highly qualified” organized criminal group that created fake websites and fake email addresses that closely resemble the real websites and mails of well-known retailers and suppliers. With their help, fraudsters trick victims into placing orders and making advance payment. However, in the end, the victims did not receive any ordered goods, and the money they paid was laundered through accounts in Romanian banks and cashed out through ATMs.

During simultaneous searches in Ireland, the Netherlands and Romania, 23 suspects were arrested. According to the investigation, they deceived companies in at least 20 countries of Europe and Asia in the amount of € 1 million.

The fraudulent group has been active for several years and offers various products such as wood pellets. During the COVID-19 pandemic, attackers switched to protective equipment.

The European Cybercrime Center (EC3) was involved in the investigation, and cybercrime experts participated in the searches.

Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks are one of the most lucrative forms of cybercrime for online fraudsters. In 2019, the FBI identified BEC attacks as cybercrimes with the highest property damage reported by victims at $ 1.77 billion. In total, BEC attacks cause even more damage to businesses than ransomware.

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