CEO Fraud is Now a 4.1 Billion Pound Email Scam

by Lauren Ascroft on 12 May 2017

ceo fraud

IT Security Experts Rockford IT have recently been made aware of a rise in the CEO Fraud email scam, a relatively new security threat.

This email scam is used by cyber criminals to spoof company email accounts and impersonate executives to try and trick employees from accounts or HR into creating unauthorised wire transfers, gaining credit card information, important tax documentation, passwords or any other high valuable data in an attempt to scam organisations out of millions of pounds.

The FBI has recently reported that in the last 7 months of 2016 the CEO Fraud email scam tried to steal 5.3 billion dollars, up from 3.1 billion dollars from October 2013 through May 2016. These figures are very alarming and show that employees need to be more vigilant than ever.

Cyber criminals use a variety of methods to try and trick their victims into giving up money. These include:

  • Phishing – emails sent to a large number of employees in an attempt that someone will believe they are a reputable source.
  • Spear Phishing – a more focused form of phishing. The cyber criminal has either studied the group or has gleaned data from social media sites to con users.
  • Executive Whaling – cyber criminals use the method to target executives and administrators to siphon off money from accounts or steal confidential data.
  • Social Engineering – where hackers use lies and manipulation to trick people into giving them their personal information.

The main indicators to look out for that may suggest the email message is part of a CEO fraud attempt are; the display name, the sender’s domain name and certain key words such as “bank transfer” or “wire transfer”.

Your employees are now exposed to increasingly sophisticated phishing and ransomware attacks so giving them training will help them to think before they click. Security awareness training is key in making sure people are trained to spot and be aware of these types of cyber attacks, this is especially important for staff who have authorisation or responsibility for transferring money.

IT Security Experts Rockford IT offer a great security awareness training product called KnowBe4. For more information contact Rockford IT’s sales team on 0333 101 6000 or email


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