Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” This concept applies to fraud prevention. A failure to monitor a process results in a lack of protection and a potential vulnerability to attacks. This brings us to the topic of email monitoring.

With the number of emails sent and received daily expected to exceed 376 billion by 2025, it’s more important than ever to implement a strong line of defense against business email compromise (BEC).

Fraud levels are increasing

In 2019, a European subsidiary of the Toyota Boshoku Corporation lost $37 million due to a fraudulent email. Criminals posed as a vendor to request a payment. The victim thought they were paying an invoice for a parts shipment that was crucial for production.

This high-profile story illustrates how scammers often target accounts payable employees who handle large transactions, but the truth is that no one is safe. Criminals target businesses of all sizes, and fraud levels have been steadily increasing, reaching all-time highs.

A diverse and sophisticated threat

Between 2018 and 2019, the number of BEC attacks increased by 100%. This number reflects the rise in fraudulent schemes like submitting fake bills or diverting payments.

Not all BEC scams target payments. However, payment fraud has significantly increased, with 82% of organizations reporting incidents in 2018. Also, criminals are using more complex schemes to impersonate vendors, send copies of valid invoices, and work with insiders to leverage sensitive data or take advantage of approval systems.

Phishing is another common threat that lurks in your mailbox. Google found that the number of phishing websites went up by a staggering 350% between January and March 2020. Phishing emails often trick recipients into clicking on malicious links to spoofed pages. (Email monitoring can help prevent that.)

Malware is more destructive than ever with threats like ransomware. Opening a malicious email can cause ransomware to spread across your IT architecture and lock you out of your data. In 2020, one of the top ransomware groups raked in as much as $123 million.

The future of BEC

Email is a crucial business tool. So, criminals will proceed to target it because it’s a vulnerable point of entry. We’ll continue to see high levels of fraud and more sophisticated methods.

In fact, more criminals could leverage AI to use techniques like voice cloning and deepfakes to impersonate vendors. Another trend is AI-generated phishing, which results in more convincing emails and spoofed pages.

Are rules-based methods enough?

A rules-based system can help employees spot common fraud patterns. It can look for specific elements that fall outside of the norm and flag these emails.

However, a rules-based approach can only protect you from common schemes. With threat levels increasing and schemes becoming more complex, rules-based fraud prevention can’t cover the range of scenarios that exist. Besides, fraudsters understand how these systems work and can design scams that bypass common rules.

Going back to the adage “What gets measured, gets managed,” rules-based fraud prevention requires you to continuously monitor new threats. Even with a dedicated fraud prevention process, it’s difficult to develop new rules fast enough to keep up with the new problems.

The need for AI and continuous email monitoring

An email monitoring solution can make you more proactive. It detects fraudulent communication as soon as it reaches an employee’s inbox. Plus, it gives you access to features like real-time risk scores and escalation.

This type of monitoring relies on AI and machine learning. These technologies greatly reduce the risk of human error, a factor that plays an important part when an employee falls for an invoice scam or another type of BEC fraud.

Because AI is adaptive, an email monitoring solution can adjust to the unique needs of your organization and keep up with the new schemes that criminals use. So, this capability protects you from fraudsters reverse-engineering your system.

Another positive point of relying on AI and deep learning is that they can reduce the number of false positives your fraud prevention team has to review.

Protect your inbox with

Fraud levels are on the rise, and more criminals than ever are targeting business emails. It’s a trend that will continue as fraudsters design more sophisticated BEC schemes, making your rules-based fraud prevention system insufficient. offers a free email monitoring tool. Here’s why you should use our Email Shield:

  • Fast and user-friendly. Installation happens in a matter of minutes. Our Email Shield allows recipients to verify contacts and check a sender’s risk score with one click.
  • Adaptive solution. Leveraging AI and machine learning allows us to deliver an adaptive risk assessment solution. Email Shield generates alerts and scores based on hundreds of variables for a more advanced monitoring solution that matches the complexity of existing threats.
  • Collective intelligence network. We use a global anti-fraud intelligence network to protect you from bad agents that have been identified when targeting other organizations that belong to our consortium.

Make your inbox safer with Email Shield. You can learn more about this solution and install it for free. Or schedule a demo to discover more.