An executive at a 120-employee company receives a call at 10:50 a.m. from a representative at his bank, who asks him if the firm has made any recent wire transfers. The executive says no. In fact, 47 transfers have been made over the previous three hours, to accounts in far-flung places such as Russia, Scotland, Finland and China. The executive tells the bank rep not to honor any additional transfer requests, but over the next three hours, 38 more fraudulent wires are sent from the company's accounts, resulting in a loss of $560,000 for the company. This is just one instance of the growing trend of online fraud perpetrated against business bank accounts. In the case above, an employee of Experi-Metal Inc. (EMI), a manufacturer of specialty metal products in Sterling Heights, Mich., opened an e-mail that appeared to be from Comerica, its bank for over a decade. The e-mail said Comerica needed to perform maintenance work on its banking software and instructed EMI to log in to a linked Web site.

The employee logged in and provided the requested information. Alas, that information was obtained by fraudsters–most likely captured by so-called malware surreptitiously planted in the computer's operating system. The fraudsters "immediately began sending wire transfers out of EMI's bank accounts with Comerica, sending the funds to various foreign and domestic accounts," according to the complaint EMI filed in November 2009.

Comerica's filing a month later denied those claims. The litigation between Comerica and EMI was ongoing last November, and a trial date had yet to be set.

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