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HSB cyber survey shows increase in business email schemes

Hackers trick employees into paying out thousands in company funds

U.S. businesses report an increase in suspicious emails. And many employees are taking the bait —transferring tens of thousands of dollars in company funds into fraudulent accounts.

Suspicious emails are increasing

Over half of business executives responding to HSB’s latest cyber survey (58 percent) said suspicious emails had increased in the past year.

Payment fraud targets employees

More than a third (37 percent) of the organizations questioned had received an email from someone pretending to be a senior manager or vendor requesting payments be made.

It’s a growing and costly problem

“Whether it’s a phishing scheme or malware, most cyber attacks start with an email,” said Timothy Zeilman, vice president for HSB. “Even companies that have information security training and fairly savvy employees fall victim to these deceptions.”

Losses usually top $10,000 or more

Almost half of the employees receiving suspicious emails (47 percent) responded by transferring company funds, the survey found. The losses most often totaled $50,000 to $100,000 (37 percent of the time) and rarely less than $10,000 (only 11 percent).

Personal information is also exposed

In addition to stealing business funds, individuals may be targeted to get W2 forms, Social Security numbers and other personal information.

Worker training and security are critical

Employee training and mandatory security policies are critical to protecting your business from email scams and other cyber attacks.

Confirm a payment request in person

The first thing that every business or institution should do: require that employees make a telephone call, or speak personally with appropriate managers before making any payment requested by email.

Businesses should require employees to call, or speak personally, with appropriate managers from their company before making any payments requested by email.

Learn more about prevent email fraud

The FBI offers information and tips to help combat email fraud (also known as business email compromise). Visit our website for more information about HSB’s cyber insurance coverages that help protect businesses and consumers.

HSB cyber survey shows increase in business email schemes