INTERPOL urges public to #BECareful of BEC fraud

9 October 2019
Public awareness campaign will provide tips to identify possible email scams

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands – What would you do if you received an email from your company’s CEO asking you to make an urgent payment?

What if a long-time supplier asked you to send all future payments to a new account at a different bank?

Would you immediately make the payment or change the banking details? Or would you first double-check through a different channel that the requests were genuine?

If you would make the payment, you just might become the next victim of a growing type of fraud – business email compromise, or BEC fraud.

Through a new public awareness campaign launched today, INTERPOL is encouraging the public to #BECareful about BEC fraud and know the warning signs to avoid falling into the criminals’ trap.

The anatomy of business email compromise

BEC fraud – also sometimes called CEO fraud – is a type of social engineering scam where criminals deceive company employees into transferring money to them. They might gain access to the victim’s devices or systems through malware or other security vulnerabilities, and learn enough about the company’s inner working to convincingly impersonate either a high-ranking employee like the CEO or a supplier.

INTERPOL’s month-long #BECareful campaign will inform the public about this growing type of fraud and provide information security and prevention tips for how to stay safe.

“With more than one billion dollars lost to BEC fraud last year alone, this relatively unknown crime is fast becoming a global phenomenon” Craig Jones, INTERPOL’s Director of Cybercrime

“We hope the #BECareful campaign will bring this issue to the forefront by raising public awareness and offering concrete advice to reduce the number of potential victims, with the ultimate goal of keeping money out of the hands of criminals,” he concluded.

The awareness campaign will be conducted primarily via social media, and will focus on three key areas:

  • General information on BEC fraud, how it works and the threat to victims;
  • Advice on how to spot a potentially fraudulent request and avoid falling prey to the scam;
  • Cybersecurity tips to protect computer systems from intrusion.



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To gain the widest global reach, INTERPOL has signed on police and financial authorities in around 60 member countries to support the campaign by sharing information on BEC fraud and using the #BECareful hashtag to start a global conversation.

A number of private sector companies in the cybersecurity field, international organizations and non-profits are also supporting the campaign by sharing information on BEC cases, as well as on tools available to help members of public protect their systems from this threat.

The campaign was launched during the 7th Europol-INTERPOL Cybercrime Conference taking place this week in The Hague.