New online financial scam costs victims $130K per attack


If you get an email from a seemingly trusted source asking you to wire some money or share some sensitive information, it might be best to hit the delete button.

That email just might be a phishing attempt in a business-email compromise scheme, or BEC — a new scam that’s resulted in a $5.2 billion loss between Oct. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2016, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This latest twist on ripoffs was the subject of a Wednesday panel at TD Ameritrade’s National LINC conference in Orlando.

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“Your firm is always at risk,” said Stephen Dougherty, a panelist and financial fraud investigator with Firebird Analytical Solutions & Technologies.

Hackers who excel at this scam are well rewarded for their efforts. A successful attack averages a $130,000 loss per scheme, according to Dougherty.

In comparison, a traditional bank robbery averages a $3,816 loss per successful act.

This is how hackers exploit advisors and their clients.

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