Businesses have been taken for at least $1.2 billion in fraud-related losses from October 2013 until August 2015, with cybercriminals targeteing businesses that interact with international suppliers, according to the FBI Internet Complaint Center (IC3).
Fraud ring operators typically say they are lawyers or some type of representative from a law firm - and claim they are responsible for addressing confidential and time-sensitive manners. Once contact has been made, they try to rely on pressuring a victim to send payments quickly.
"The scam has been reported in all 50 states and in 79 countries," according to the FBI memo. "Fraudulent transfers have been reported going to 72 countries; however, the majority of the transfers are going to Asian banks located within China and Hong Kong."
Overall, the number of identified victims has drastically increased 270 percent since January 2015, the FBI noted.
The criminals behind these scams typically request wire transfers and checks, in an effort to mimic common payment methods used by businesses.