The FBI has released some pretty awesome figures showing just how much money is being sent to scammers pretending to be your boss asking for you to wire some cash – amounting to $2.3 billion lost in just over two years.

Turns out, the person responsible for that embarrassing incident that happened over at Snapchat recently is just one of more than 17,000 red-faced victims of executive impersonators.

And given that it appears to be very lucrative, these types of incidents are on the increase, with a 270 percent leap in victims reporting losses since January last year.

To be fair, scammers “go to great lengths to spoof company email or use social engineering to assume the identity of the CEO,” including targeting companies that work a lot with foreign suppliers or would generally do a large number of wired payments.

In Arizona, where the FBI has offered specific guidance, the average loss is between $25,000 and $75,000 each time.

But the advice on offer is surely only what anyone would do if the boss got in touch asking for cash in a hurry.

  • Be wary of email-only wire transfer requests and requests involving urgency
  • Pick up the phone and verify legitimate business partners
  • Be cautious of mimicked email addresses
  • Practice multi-level authentication
  • Do not be stupid

Ok, that last one was mine.

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