Business email compromise more costly than most other fraud attacks combined

Business Email Compromise (BEC), a type of cyber-fraud in which attackers use compromised email accounts to launch attacks on businesses, is growing both more popular among cybercriminals and more devastating.

This is according to a new report from, which claims that BEC was more costly than most other frauds combined in the US last year.

In 2020, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) logged roughly 792,000 complaints, up almost 70 percent compared to the year before. These companies and individuals reported being defrauded out of $4.2 billion, representing a 20 percent spike.

Of that $4.2 billion, $1.8bn came as a result of BEC, which accounted for 42 percent of all reported cybercrime losses. 

BEC also became more targeted last year, the report further claims. While there were fewer attacks in total compared to previous years, total losses jumped by $100 million, indicating that the attackers know who they’re up against and how much money they can steal.

Besides BEC, phishing scams are also extremely popular, recording the highest number of complaints last year. Non-payment and non-delivery frauds, as well as extortion, personal data breach and identity theft were also commonplace.

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