Business Email Compromise (BEC) scammers, who have made rich returns in recent years tricking organisations into transferring funds into their accounts, have found a new tactic which attempts to swindle Wall Street firms out of significantly larger amounts of money.

According to a newly published-report by Agari, scammers are seeking to defraud Wall Street businesses and their customers out of US $809,000 on average per incident.

This emerging form of BEC attack is a “capital call” scam, where the fraudsters pose as an investment or insurance firm seeking a portion of money previously promised by an investor for a particular investment vehicle.

Such funds are, inevitably, significantly larger (Agari says on average they are seven times higher) than those sought in most wire transfer scams.

due for payment

In an example shared by the researchers, the scam email attached a Capital Call Notice for US $970,357.00 to be deposited into a bank account under the fraudsters’ control.

Capital Call notice

If the targeted investor was duped into wiring the funds, then it is likely that money would be quickly moved into other accounts and withdrawn by mules to prevent the payment from being returned to the victim.

Threat researcher Crane Hassold told Bleeping Computer that the examples seen to date do not indicate that the attackers are using any inside knowledge when requesting capital call payments, but are instead referencing fictitious investments.

That suggests to me that the attackers are much less likely to succeed in their fraudulent requests than if they had hacked into investment firms and were specifically able to target investors who were expecting to receive a capital call notice at some point.

Furthermore, the attacks seen by Agari have mostly come through the Czech webmail provider Centrum, rather than making more of an effort to disguise themselves as a communication from (Read more...)