Business Email Compromise

What is a Business Email Compromise?

A business email compromise (BEC) is an exploit in which the attacker gains access to a legitimate email account through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques and spoofs the owner's identity to defraud the organization or its employees, customers or partners to conduct unauthorized transfers of funds.

Who is at Risk?

The accounting, accounts payable team, IT manager, C-level and other senior executives and anyone with finance approval is likely to be on the receiving end of one of these attacks.

What are the Red Flags?

Look for awkward wordings and misspelling. Be alert for slight alterations of company names. Hackers have gotten good at creating spoofed email addresses and URLs that are very close to actual corporate addresses, but only slightly different. Another red flag is sudden urgency or time-sensitive issues. Scammers typically manufacture some rush factor that can manipulate reliable staff to act rapidly.

What if I Fall Victim to a BEC?

1. Contact your bank immediately
Inform them of the wire transfer in question. Give them full details of the amount, the account destination and any other pertinent details. Ask the bank if it is possible to recall the transfer. Get put in touch with the cybersecurity department of the bank, brief them on the incident and ask for their intervention. They can 
contact their counterparts in the foreign bank to have them prevent the funds from being withdrawn or transferred elsewhere. Report the incident to the Bryant University Information Security team

2. Contact law enforcement
In the U.S., the local FBI office is the place to start. The FBI, working with the U.S. Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network may be able to return or freeze the funds.

3. File a complaint
Visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at to file a complaint. Victims should always file a complaint regardless of dollar loss.

Security Questions?

Information Security Office

Fall and Spring (semester hours)
Mon - Fri
8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Winter and Summer
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8:30 am - 4 pm