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FBI: 65 People Arrested Worldwide in BEC Bust

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this week announced the arrests of 65 individuals as part of an international effort to combat business email compromise (BEC) fraud.

BEC scammers typically target employees in charge of making or authorizing wire transfers, from either a compromised or a spoofed email account.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this week announced the arrests of 65 individuals as part of an international effort to combat business email compromise (BEC) fraud.

BEC scammers typically target employees in charge of making or authorizing wire transfers, from either a compromised or a spoofed email account.

Using these accounts, the fraudsters send legitimate-looking requests for wire transfers to bank accounts that they control.

These attacks have been observed worldwide, and last year alone the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received reports of attacks that caused adjusted losses close to $2.4 billion.

Named Operation Eagle Sweep, the newly announced BEC crackdown started in September and resulted in the arrests of suspects in the United States (42), Nigeria (12), South Africa (8), Canada (2), and Cambodia (1).

[ READ: FBI Warns of BEC Scams Abusing Virtual Meeting Platforms ]

According to the FBI, the law enforcement operation started in September 2021 and targeted BEC fraudsters believed to have caused more than $51 million in losses to over 500 victims in the US.

Among the arrestees, the FBI named Bright Osaghni and Osatohanmwen Oriakhi, both of Toronto, Canada, who targeted hundreds of victims in the US and Canada and caused estimated losses of more than $16 million.

Operation Eagle Sweep follows Operation Wire Wire in 2018 and Operation reWired in 2019, which resulted in the arrests of more than 300 individuals for their suspected involvement in BEC schemes.

Related: FBI: 649 Ransomware Attacks Reported on Critical Infrastructure Organizations in 2021

Related: Microsoft Disrupts Large-Scale BEC Campaign

Related: Microsoft Sees Spike in BEC Attacks Targeting Schools

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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