An Email Scam Costs JAL Millions of Dollars


Email junk filters are doing a perfect job these days, but some scammers are upping their game by the day and tricking recipients into sending them large amounts of cash into bogus bank accounts. Latest being JAL

Japan Airlines (JAL) just admitted that it is the latest international courier to have fallen victim to an email scam.

Scammers caught one of JAL’s employees and had him send money several times to a fake bank account purported to belong to a U.S financial service company. According to Japan Times’ report, the company was leasing a plane to the airline.

The Amount of Cash JAL Lost

Known as “invoice redirect” or “business email compromise,” the company lost an amount of $3.39 million.

What happens in these cases is, the cyber criminals first hack the client’s email, and then they gain information about its business procedures. The scammers, posing as the sellers, use the gathered data to approach the client for due payments. They, (Scammers), contact the customers via email, with posts that include invoices and bank account details.

If the two companies have a history of business, the hackers may give a false explanation as to why there is a change in the bank details, and many employees fail to note the red flag presented with the changes.

In JAL’s case, the first $3.17 million (360 million yen), was send to an account in Hong Kong for the leasing of a plane. It was soon followed by another payment of $212,000 (24 million yen) into a different account, still in Hong Kong that JAL thought it belonged to an American Logistics firm.

In the first scenario, JAL thought they were paying money to a financial service company, but a month later, they realized it was a scam when the company got in touch with them inquiring for the payments.

FBI reports show that these same cases were rampant in the U.S last year when fraudsters tried to steal over $5.3 billion.