The Couv Cares for our Community

We take our role as a community bank beyond the borders of banking services and products. Our caring staff takes time out of their busy schedules to serve on boards and committees and to volunteer at events and other important activities. We are especially active with local organizations working to make a difference in people’s lives and in the business community in Clark County and beyond.

We are proud of our community partners. If you’d like more information about how you can also get involved with any of these nonprofit groups that we support in and around Clark County, please let us know.

Identity Clark County

Identity Clark County (ICC) is a non-profit business advocacy group that brings a business voice to community development. Regents Bank EVP Tami Nesburg serves on its Executive Committee. ICC’s annual investor meeting brings together its contributors and others in the community, including representatives from private business and public sector agencies, to discuss important community development issues and lobby to elected officials in Olympia. ICC is unique in the Vancouver community for its ability to coalesce different voices in support of community-wide initiatives.

Currently, ICC members and partners are focused on how to rework the operations of the I-5 freeway bridge so that the draw bridge doesn’t open and obstruct vehicular traffic during peak commute times. Each weekday, approximately 75,000 to 100,000 car trips pass over that bridge, but accommodating seaborne freight traffic is important as well. ICC is working toward resolving this issue by engaging a wide variety of stakeholders.

ICC is also working to provide more adequate shelter and day-use for the homeless and to improve educational access and programs in the two largest Clark County school districts. Click here to view Identity Clark County website↗ and see an article↗ from the Daily Insider announcing Tami’s appointment.

Gifts for Our Community

Gifts For Our Community is a nonprofit organization that provides resources to our community in the areas of human services, education and the arts. Tami Nesburg also serves on its Board. Gifts For Our Community runs an upscale furniture consignment store, Divine Consign, where people can exchange their furniture items either for a personal check or to have the proceeds of the sale donated to their favorite charity from a list of vetted organizations. Included in the store is Divine Bites, a cupcake shop. The organization also operates Divine Again, an upholstery service that trains apprentice upholsterers from Partners in Careers and Goodwill Training who want to learn a trade and become self-sufficient. Customers can bring in their furniture pieces for repair. The organization also opened bDivine Clothing a couple of years ago, selling donated women’s clothing and accessories.

Everything sold or raised by Gifts For Our Community’s programs and events goes toward the approximately $50,000 to $75,000 per year the organization grants to deserving charity organizations in southwest Washington, benefitting shelters, food banks, at-risk youth programs and many more. Learn more on their website.↗

Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Washington

The Boys & Girls Clubs of SW WA seek to provide a positive environment, quality programs and lifelong learning skills for all school age youth in Vancouver and its surrounding areas, with special concern for those coming from disadvantaged circumstances. Instead of hanging out on the streets or being home alone, youth come to the Club where trained professionals provide a safe environment for kids to have fun and be themselves, constructive programs that channel youthful energy into challenging pursuits and supportive relationships that help build young people’s self-esteem. The Clubs are deliberately located in neighborhoods that lack services and facilities for youth.

Regents Bank is proud of our relationship with the Boys & Girls Club and is a proud sponsor of the Club’s annual Youth Partnership Luncheon. Last year, we invited Jo’siah, a boy we met at this luncheon, to shadow our staff↗ for a day and explore his interest in becoming a banker one day. Based upon that experience, the Boys & Girls Club is considering implementing a mentorship program for the more than 3,000 members in our area. Click here for the Boys & Girls Club website↗ and see an article↗ on our Blog regarding our “Banker for the Day.”

Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation

Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation’s mission is to strengthen its value to the communities it serves by securing donations, funding and endowments beyond the scope of the library district’s operating budget, funding additional projects and services for all ages including children, teens, and seniors and inspiring community interest and involvement. Regents Bank VP, Devin Jackson serves as Chair of the organization’s Board and is a member of the Investment Committee. He, along with others from the Foundation, District and the community are working hard to establish three new library branches in southwest Washington in the coming years. These libraries are in different stages of site selection, design and fundraising. The Foundation supports life-long learning initiatives through their ongoing support of Summer Reading programs, financial literacy workshops and by increasing access to an expanding array of digital content. Click here for the FVRLF website.↗

Clark County’s First Citizen

Last month, for the 76th year, Clark County came together to honor its First Citizen, an award representing the county’s highest distinction of citizenship, to Nan Henriksen, former (and first female) Camas mayor. Nan also served on the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board and as chair of the Board of Freeholders. Regents Bank is a proud sponsor of the annual First Citizen Award. Our own EVP, Tami Nesburg, spoke at the event, which attracted 300 local business leaders. Tami loves the First Citizen program, because, she says, “you learn about people you wouldn’t necessarily know of, and the difference they have made in our community is substantial and lasting.” Learn more on their website.↗

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Regent’s Bank EVP Tami Nesburg introduces First Citizen Nan Henrikson

 Clark County Food Bank

Clark County Food Bank is a regional food bank that distributes 6 million pounds of food and 5 million meals a year. It partners with 34 local agencies and programs to serve those who would otherwise go without food in our community. With 65,000 hungry individuals in Clark County, the need is great, and Clark County Food Bank is here to help. One more way it’s now doing this is through a recently-added kitchen where meal preparation training is provided for those the organization serves. Regents Bank employees and their families, including Rene Wisch and Brian Feller, regularly volunteer their time to serve at the Food Bank. This summer, Regents Bank presented a $1,000 donation to Clark County Food Bank to help continue the organization’s good work. Our staff also helps out with financial management for the Food Bank. See their website↗ for more information.

Regents Bank for T &S 2015

Tami Nesburg (far right) and Brian Feller (2nd from left) present a donation to their local Vancouver Food Bank.

Our entire staff is very passionate about our local communities and the organizations that support them. At Regents Bank, we’re dedicated to providing our team the flexibility to contribute time and resources to charitable and civic organizations. Balancing work, family and community makes us feel happy and fulfilled. We know many others feel the same, and we’d be pleased to help you get involved with any of the organizations mentioned in this article. Please feel free to contact us!

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EMV Chips – What They Mean To You

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Whether you are a merchant, a consumer or both, EMV chip technology is great news. Also known as smart chip technology, EMV is a global payment standard designed to reduce fraudulent transactions where payment cards are physically present at the time of the transaction.

EuroPay, MasterCard® and Visa® (thus the abbreviation EMV) developed the EMV chip technology to combat counterfeit card fraud. Outside the U.S., more than 130 countries in Asia, Europe and South America, as well as Canada and Mexico, have already embraced the technology, and counterfeit credit card fraud has declined noticeably in those countries.

Here in the U.S., credit cards enabled with an EMV chip are gradually replacing their magnetic strip ancestors. If your payment card has a chip, you will see a small metallic square on the front of the card. Cards still have magnetic strips, too, so that you can use them at merchants that don’t yet accept chip cards.

The difference between EMV cards and the traditional magnetic strip cards is that the EMV chip better protects against unauthorized use by generating a unique number for each sales transaction. The magnetic strips on traditional cards contain unchanging data. When an EMV card is used for payment, the card chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again. If a counterfeiter steals the chip information from one specific point of sale, typical card duplication would not work because the stolen transaction number created in that instance wouldn’t be usable again, and the card would be denied. Therefore, even if card data and the one-time code are stolen, the information can’t be used to create a counterfeit card.

EMV cards can be used at stores or at ATMs. The readers may differ, but each includes a slot in which to insert the card – with the EMV chip facing up. Directions on the screen instruct the user about what to do next. Generally, the chip card stays in the machine until the transaction is complete. If your card has an EMV chip and you attempt to swipe the magnetic strip instead, an error will appear and you will be prompted to insert the card for chip processing instead.

Credit and debit card providers are now rolling out the EMV chip cards, providing customers with an extra layer of security and confidence. Regents Bank card holders can expect to receive their new cards in the next few months. In the meantime, card holders can continue to use their magnetic strip cards at stores and ATMs.

For merchants, EMV software-equipped terminals offer the most secure way to accept in-store payments and reduce fraud liability risk, especially since the liability shifted to merchants on October 1, 2015 in the event that fraud occurs on a chip card presented in-store and chip card terminals weren’t used.

Additional information about EMV chip technology can be found here.↗

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What to My Wondering Eyes Should Appear – Thank You For Your Donations!

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Our 2015 Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree gift drive was a huge success, and we’d like to thank everyone who contributed. Our San Diego offices, located in Downtown, La Jolla, Vista and Escondido, welcomed clients, friends and family to join our efforts to bring a brighter Christmas to families in need.

Our Vista and Escondido offices collected toys for specific requests from children, while our La Jolla and Downtown offices focused on a list of items the Salvation Army hoped to receive to complete family gift packages.

IMG_0749The response was tremendous, and we were able to collect approximately 100 gifts and several bins of food. In addition, we were blown away when one of our clients at our Escondido office (you know who you are!) wrote a $1,000 check toward the Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree program.

To further support the Salvation Army,↗ several of our staffers spent time as bell ringers during the holiday season. Our president, Steve Sefton (also a Metropolitan Board Member for the Salvation Army), rang the Salvation Army bell to drum up donations for the red kettle at Fashion Valley Mall. Several of our Escondido branch staff, Kim Poole, Taryn Diehl (with her family), Mike Churchwell and Norma Soto, rang the bell at Major Market in Escondido.

The holiday spirit of giving is magical as it brightens the lives of both the giver and the receiver. We feel so lucky to be in the company of so many generous people and to have had the chance to make Christmas special for many San Diego families in need.

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Cheers to 2016!

nyeAs the holiday season draws to a close and we look forward to a shiny new year, we reflect on 2015 and all the people and events that made it the memorable year that it was. Family occasions, both great and small; gatherings and special moments with old friends and new; the countless small but indelible moments that make up our days; and all the business successes and milestones we share with our clients and friends. During this season of good will to all, we would like to take just a moment and express our appreciation to you for being part of our lives this past year. We wish you a very happy, rewarding, prosperous and peaceful 2016.

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Your Small Act of Kindness Can Give Christmas to a Child

San Diego Angel Tree display

Imagine struggling so much that providing basic necessities for your family precludes being able to buy your children gifts for Christmas. A small purchase to some can mean the world to others. As we celebrate the time of year when we have so many opportunities to provide for those less fortunate, we hope you’ll consider brightening a child’s Christmas morning by helping with our Salvation Army↗ Angel Giving Tree gift drives.

Escondido Angel Tree displayIn the spirit of the holidays, Regents Bank’s San Diego offices are welcoming our staff, clients and friends to contribute now through Wednesday, December 16 at our Vista and Escondido offices and through today at our downtown and La Jolla offices.

At our Escondido and Vista offices, you’ll find Angel Trees with gift tags for specific requested gifts. The requests come from hundreds of San Diego children, ages infant to 12 years old, who would otherwise have no gifts to open this holiday season. Families in need that sign up for the program must meet Federal minimum poverty guidelines to qualify.

Vista Angel Tree displayEach angel on our trees has the name, age, gender and gift request of a child in need. You can “adopt” a child and purchase their (unwrapped) Christmas gift wish to deposit in the barrel we have displayed onsite.

Our La Jolla and Downtown offices are hosting similar gift drives based on a list of suggested items from the Salvation Army.  The general drives help the Salvation Army complete family packages for the holidays. Gifts for “tweens” are most needed since they are the ones who are chosen the least from the Angel Trees. Again, please do not wrap the gift.

According to the Salvation Army, gifts that interest boys in the tween age group are: Legos, remote controlled toys, athletic balls (soccer balls, footballs, baseballs, basketballs), skateboards, building sets, clothes, watches and electronic items.  Tween girls appreciate: hair tools, hair accessories, nail supplies, make-up, jewelry, art sets, journals, CDs, DVDs, toiletry sets (body wash, lotions, body mists, etc.), scooters, Polaroid cameras (instant cameras) and stationery sets.  Of course, any items for all ages will be gratefully accepted and appreciated.

Please feel free to contact your Regents banker or the main telephone line at any of our San Diego-area offices if you have any questions about our Salvation Army gift drive. Thank you in advance to those who plan to contribute. Merry Christmas to all!

La Jolla Angel Tree display

 

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FBI Article: Ransomware on the Rise

We noticed that a lot of you really liked the last FBI cyber security article we ran. We’re pleased the Bureau has encouraged us to share their articles on this topic, so we’re happy to do so again. This article deals with a concerning type of cybercrime called ransomware, where a malware restricts access to the infected computer/network and demands that the operators pay some sort of ransom to regain control of their network. We hope this article is helpful to you. Please let us know if you have information or ideas on this topic that our readers may want to hear.

You can find this article, as well as many other articles you may find valuable to keep your business and staff secure against cybercrime, at this web address:

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2015/january/ransomware-on-the-rise/ransomware-on-the-rise↗

For more information about fraud protection tools and product features provided by Regents Bank, please visit our website.

Ransomware on the Rise
FBI and Partners Working to Combat This Cyber Threat

Your computer screen freezes with a pop-up message—supposedly from the FBI or another federal agency—saying that because you violated some sort of federal law your computer will remain locked until you pay a fine. Or you get a pop-up message telling you that your personal files have been encrypted and you have to pay to get the key needed decrypt them.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 10.50.23 AMThese scenarios are examples of ransomware scams, which involve a type of malware that infects computers and restricts users’ access to their files or threatens the permanent destruction of their information unless a ransom—anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars—is paid.

Ransomware doesn’t just impact home computers.
Businesses, financial institutions, government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations can and have become infected with it as well, resulting in the loss of sensitive or proprietary information, a disruption to regular operations, financial losses incurred to restore systems and files, and/or potential harm to an organization’s reputation.

Ransomware has been around for several years, but there’s been a definite uptick lately in its use by cyber criminals. And the FBI, along with public and private sector partners, is targeting these offenders and their scams.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 10.47.22 AMWhen ransomware first hit the scene, computers predominately became infected with it when users opened e-mail attachments that contained the malware.
But more recently, we’re seeing an increasing number of incidents involving so-called “drive-by” ransomware, where users can infect their computers simply by clicking on a compromised website, often lured there by a deceptive e-mail or pop-up window.

Another new trend involves the ransom payment method. While some of the earlier ransomware scams involved having victims pay “ransom” with pre-paid cards, victims are now increasingly asked to pay with Bitcoin, a decentralized virtual currency network that attracts criminals because of the anonymity the system offers.

Also a growing problem is ransomware that locks down mobile phones and demands payments to unlock them.

The FBI and our federal, international, and private sector partners have taken proactive steps to neutralize some of the more significant ransomware scams through law enforcement actions against major botnets↗ that facilitated the distribution and operation of ransomware.

For example:

  • Reveton ransomware, delivered by malware known as Citadel, falsely warned victims that their computers had been identified by the FBI or Department of Justice as being associated with child pornography websites or other illegal online activity. In June 2013, Microsoft, the FBI, and our financial partners disrupted a massive criminal botnet built on the Citadel malware, putting the brakes on Reveton’s distribution. FBI statement↗ and additional details.↗
  • Cryptolocker was a highly sophisticated ransomware that used cryptographic key pairs to encrypt the computer files of its victims and demanded ransom for the encryption key. In June 2014, the FBI announced—in conjunction with the Gameover Zeus botnet disruption—that U.S. and foreign law enforcement officials had seized Cryptolocker command and control servers. The investigation into the criminals behind Cryptolocker continues, but the malware is unable to encrypt any additional computers.Additional details.↗

If you think you’ve been a victim of Cryptolocker, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) CryptoLocker webpage↗ for remediation information.

The FBI—along with its federal, international, and private sector partners—will continue to combat ransomware and other cyber threats. If you believe you’ve been the victim of a ransomware scheme or other cyber fraud activity, please report it to the Bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.↗

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Giving Thanks

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Norman Rockwell’s iconic Thanksgiving image: “Freedom From Want.”

Thanksgiving Day offers each of us the opportunity to reflect on our lives and upon all that for which we are grateful.  It is a day unique in its simplicity of purpose and joyous spirit; no wonder it is one of our nation’s most beloved holidays.

In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln declared the first national Thanksgiving Day, recognizing that even in the darkest times we are blessed. This Thanksgiving, it is especially appropriate to remember the words of President John F Kennedy: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” 

From all of us at Regents Bank, thank you. We are grateful for your allowing us to be a part of your lives, and wish you, your families and friends a very happy Thanksgiving.

 

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Regents Bank Welcomes Hanaa Zahran as Senior Vice President/Senior Relationship Manager

Hanaa Zahran Hensersky headshot
Do you prefer to converse with your banker in Spanish? How about French? Arabic? Russian? We’re very pleased to welcome the multi-lingual and remarkably accomplished banker Hanaa Zahran to our Regents Bank team. Hanaa joins us as a senior vice president and senior relationship manager in our La Jolla office.  While she is prepared to speak with you in five different languages, working capital cash flow lingo is by far her favorite!

Hanaa looks forward to promoting and practicing the Regents Bank philosophy of advisory relationship banking within the San Diegan business community. She has worked extensively with clients in the technology and government sectors, but says that she enjoys being a generalist. “The opportunity to add value to many types of businesses and see the impact of the advice I share is tremendously exciting,” she said. “As bankers, we help our clients from the outside looking in, but if you really take the time and care, you can become an even more valuable asset to your client; you become part of your client’s team.”

No stranger to San Diego, Hanaa has worked at local offices of Bank of America/Merrill Lynch as a global treasury management advisor and senior vice president, as well as Union Bank of California and Silicon Valley Bank. She is a Certified Treasury Professional with extensive background in global treasury management, advisory sales, business development and relationship management.

Hanaa has applied her training and experience in treasury management to help her clients more effectively manage their cash flow. Hanaa believes that the impact of ineffective working capital management can be disastrous to a business. Hanaa states, “It is our duty as bankers to guide our clients into effective working capital management practices and help them navigate and mitigate risk.”

When not at work, theater goers may find Hanaa at La Jolla Playhouse↗, where she has served as a board member for nine years, also serving on the theater’s finance, investment and audit committees. She is an active member of both the national and regional Associations for Financial Professionals, Business Executives Council↗ and supports various local charities. She has a soft spot for helping children specifically in the areas of health, safety and education.

Hanaa is originally from Alexandria, Egypt and earned her degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Alexandria. She earned her accreditation as a Certified Treasury Professional from the Association of Financial Professionals.

If our Mandarin-speaking friends are asking why Hanaa doesn’t speak Mandarin too, fear not, she’s currently studying the language…and trying to keep up with her high school-aged son who is already fluent.

Welcome, bienvenudos, bienvenue, Marhaba and Dobro Pozhalovt, Hanaa! (Um, we’re still working on our Mandarin, too.)

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Veterans Day 2015

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To all who serve,

To all who have served,

To all who will serve,

Thank you.

Whether you see the front lines of battle

Or sit behind a desk,

You chose to protect us;

To serve your country;

To sacrifice for others.

You are our heroes.

Today, we celebrate you.

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Cyber Security Article from the FBI

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. When our staff spotted this article, we knew it was something we wanted to share with our clients and readers. We contacted the FBI for their permission to reprint it on our blog, and they were kind enough to agree. You can find this article, as well as many other articles you may find valuable to keep your business and staff secure against cyber crime, at this web address: https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2015/august/business-e-mail-compromise/business-e-mail-compromise↗

For more information about fraud protection tools and product features provided Regents Bank, please visit our website.

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Business E-Mail Compromise
An Emerging Global Threat

08/28/15

The accountant for a U.S. company recently received an e-mail from her chief executive, who was on vacation out of the country, requesting a transfer of funds on a time-sensitive acquisition that required completion by the end of the day. The CEO said a lawyer would contact the accountant to provide further details.

“It was not unusual for me to receive e-mails requesting a transfer of funds,” the accountant later wrote, and when she was contacted by the lawyer via e-mail, she noted the appropriate letter of authorization—including her CEO’s signature over the company’s seal—and followed the instructions to wire more than $737,000 to a bank in China.

The next day, when the CEO happened to call regarding another matter, the accountant mentioned that she had completed the wire transfer the day before. The CEO said he had never sent the e-mail and knew nothing about the alleged acquisition.

The company was the victim of a business e-mail compromise (BEC), a growing financial fraud that is more sophisticated than any similar scam the FBI has seen before and one—in its various forms—that has resulted in actual and attempted losses of more than a billion dollars to businesses worldwide.

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“BEC is a serious threat on a global scale,” said FBI Special Agent Maxwell Marker, who oversees the Bureau’s Transnational Organized Crime–Eastern Hemisphere Section in the Criminal Investigative Division. “It’s a prime example of organized crime groups engaging in large-scale, computer-enabled fraud, and the losses are staggering.”

Since the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) began tracking BEC scams in late 2013, it has compiled statistics on more than 7,000 U.S. companies that have been victimized—with total dollar losses exceeding $740 million. That doesn’t include victims outside the U.S. and unreported losses.

The scammers, believed to be members of organized crime groups from Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, primarily target businesses that work with foreign suppliers or regularly perform wire transfer payments. The scam succeeds by compromising legitimate business e-mail accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques. Businesses of all sizes are targeted, and the fraud is proliferating.

According to IC3, since the beginning of 2015 there has been a 270 percent increase in identified BEC victims. Victim companies have come from all 50 U.S. states and nearly 80 countries abroad. The majority of the fraudulent transfers end up in Chinese banks.

Not long ago, e-mail scams were fairly easy to spot. The Nigerian lottery and other fraud attempts that arrived in personal and business e-mail inboxes were transparent in their amateurism. Now, the scammers’ methods are extremely sophisticated.

“They know how to perpetuate the scam without raising suspicions,” Marker said. “They have excellent tradecraft, and they do their homework. They use language specific to the company they are targeting, along with dollar amounts that lend legitimacy to the fraud. The days of these e-mails having horrible grammar and being easily identified are largely behind us.”

To make matters worse, the criminals often employ malware to infiltrate company networks, gaining access to legitimate e-mail threads about billing and invoices they can use to ensure the suspicions of an accountant or financial officer aren’t raised when a fraudulent wire transfer is requested.

Instead of making a payment to a trusted supplier, the scammers direct payment to their own accounts. Sometimes they succeed at this by switching a trusted bank account number by a single digit. “The criminals have become experts at imitating invoices and accounts,” Marker said. “And when a wire transfer happens,” he added, “the window of time to identify the fraud and recover the funds before they are moved out of reach is extremely short.”

In the case mentioned above—reported to the IC3 in June—after the accountant spoke to her CEO on the phone, she immediately reviewed the e-mail thread. “I noticed the first e-mail I received from the CEO was missing one letter; instead of .com, it read .co.” On closer inspection, the attachment provided by the “lawyer” revealed that the CEO’s signature was forged and the company seal appeared to be cut and pasted from the company’s public website. Further assisting the perpetrators, the website also listed the company’s executive officers and their e-mail addresses and identified specific global media events the CEO would attend during the calendar year.

The FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, and International Operations Divisions are coordinating efforts to identify and dismantle BEC criminal groups. “We are applying all our investigative techniques to the threat,” Marker said, “including forensic accounting, human source and undercover operations, and cyber aspects such as tracking IP addresses and analyzing the malware used to carry out network intrusions. We are working with our foreign partners as well, who are seeing the same issues.” He stressed that companies should make themselves aware of the BEC threat and take measures to avoid becoming victims (see sidebar).

If your company has been victimized by a BEC scam, it is important to act quickly. Contact your financial institution immediately and request that they contact the financial institution where the fraudulent transfer was sent. Next, call the FBI, and also file a complaint↗— regardless of dollar loss—with the IC3.

“The FBI takes the BEC threat very seriously,” Marker said, “and we are working with our law enforcement partners around the world to identify these criminals and bring them to justice.”

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