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Be on the lookout for Business Email Compromise

October 22, 2019
Jerry Brodnax
Jerry Brodnax

Criminals use many alarming tactics when trying to gain access to your accounts, and it's a fact of life these days that businesses must constantly be on the lookout for cyber fraud. There's a particularly insidious type of fraud that is becoming more frequent, sophisticated and costly: Business Email Compromise, or BEC.


In this type of fraud, emails are constructed by criminals after learning communication patterns within the company. Once they become familiar with those patterns, criminals will impersonate executives, vendors and employees of the company using relevant information to disguise their counterfeit emails. They use these fake emails to request payment of legitimate invoices with altered wire instructions or redirect employee payroll. The unsuspecting employees believe they are dealing with an urgent request from an executive and will bypass normal security practices, thus creating a financial loss. Here’s an example of a fraudulent BEC email:


Business Email Compromise


Vigilance through sound verification procedures would have prevented the loss. At Hancock Whitney, we take the position that nothing is routine and to always stay vigilant when wires or ACH transactions are being fulfilled. We encourage you to ensure that you never send a payment via wire or ACH based on instructions received in an email. If you're interested in learning more about wire fraud, download the Five Red Flags of Wire Fraud.


BEC is merely one scheme used by cybercriminals to gain access to your accounts. There are many more, and that’s why we’re reinforcing our commitment to helping our clients stay informed about cybersecurity. Our Cybersecurity Resource Library contains complimentary whitepapers that we invite you to download and share with your team.


Another great resource is simply a phone call away: a Hancock Whitney Treasury Services Specialist is knowledgeable about banking security and can help you create a cybersecurity plan that’s best for your business and your situation. Talk with a specialist about cybersecurity today at 866-594-2304.


We appreciate your confidence in us as your banking partner. Together, we will stay vigilant against cybercrime.