NewsLocal News


FBI Omaha warns public about cyber-security, email scams

Posted at 10:29 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 23:29:49-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Special agents with the FBI's Omaha division are cracking down on yet another scam.

Agents tell 3 News Now it's an international operation that's scammed millions of companies and individuals.

"This is essentially their full-time job," Special Agent Jake Foils said.

Special Agent Foils tells 3 News Now six Nigerian Nationals scammed hundreds of people and businesses out of more than six million dollars.

Foils says he's been investigating the case for 5 years.

He tells us business emails being compromised and romance fraud were among the schemes.

"A business email compromise, or what we call it a BEC, involves essentially tricking companies into sending fraudulent payments either through wire transfers or ACH transfers," Foils said.

Foils says those involved are responsible for scamming at least 70 companies, two of them are in Omaha.

"They would send an email to let's say a controller (a head accountant at the company) and they would impersonate a CEO or president of the same company and just ask for a wire transfer to be submitted," he said.

And as technology advances, so do the scams.

"Generally there's an actual email account compromised where an email account is actually hacked into at a company and they go inside of that email account and essentially look around and identify existing payments, existing vendor relationships, things like that, and they'll exploit those communications," Foils said.

With more people working from home during the pandemic, Foil says people are more vulnerable.

"Verify any kind of payment change or significant financial transaction usually through a phone call," he said. "And that should be to a trusted, known phone number."

Companies can add more cybersecurity protections

Foils recommends they enable a multi-step authentication feature.

In the meantime, the FBI is working to bring criminals to justice.

Two of the men involved were apprehended after traveling to the U.S.

Foils says another conspirator was captured in Poland. He also says the FBI is working with the Nigerian Government to prosecute others involved.