The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued an alert warning of an increase in phishing and other social engineering attacks against healthcare payment processors.

“In each of these reports, unknown cyber criminals used employees’ publicly-available Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and social engineering techniques to impersonate victims and obtain access to files, healthcare portals, payment information, and websites,” the Bureau says. “In one case, the attacker changed victims’ direct deposit information to a bank account controlled by the attacker, redirecting $3.1 million from victims’ payments.”

The FBI describes three successful social engineering attacks against these entities:

  • “In April 2022, a healthcare company with more than 175 medical providers discovered an unauthorized cyber criminal posing as an employee had changed Automated Clearing House (ACH) instructions of one of their payment processing vendors to direct payments to the cyber criminal rather than the intended providers. The cyber criminal successfully diverted approximately $840,000 dollars over two transactions prior to the discovery.”
  • “In February 2022, a cyber criminal obtained credentials from a major healthcare company and changed direct deposit banking information from a hospital to a consumer checking account belonging to the cyber criminal, resulting in a $3.1 million loss. In mid-February 2022, in a separate incident a different cyber criminal used the same method to steal approximately $700,000.
  • “From June 2018 to January 2019, cyber criminals targeted and accessed at least 65 healthcare payment processors throughout the United States to replace legitimate customer banking and contact information with accounts controlled by the cyber criminals. One victim reported a loss of approximately $1.5 million. The cyber criminals used a combination of publicly available PII and phishing schemes to gain access to customer accounts. Entities involved in processing and distributing healthcare payments through processors remain vulnerable to exploitation via this method.”