Emails from your boss aren’t always emails from your boss.

Scammers have bilked businesses and other organizations out of $3 billion since 2016 through what are called business email compromise scams, the Better Business Bureau said Thursday.

The scams target people with emails that direct them to send money to the bank accounts of what are purported to be bosses, employees, business leaders, customers or homebuyers, the BBB said.

The scam has resulted in more losses than any other type of fraud in the U.S., according to the FBI.

The scams typically target people who pay bills in businesses, government and nonprofit organizations, the BBB said. A scammer will pose as a reliable person and send an email from a spoofed or hacked account to an accountant or chief financial officer. The email asks that the recipient wire money, buy gift cards or send personal information — often with a plausible reason. If the money is sent, it goes to the scammer’s account.

At least 90% of the business email compromise scams are carried out by fraud gangs operating out of Nigeria, the BBB said.

Most of the business email compromise scams probably can be thwarted by using the telephone, the BBB said. If employees are directed to send money to someone, they should call the person supposedly asking them for the money and have them confirm that the request is legitimate.

“Emails aren’t sufficient to ensure you are talking to the right person,” the group said.

Other tips are available at staysafeonline.org.

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Bob Glissmann helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow him on Twitter @BobGlissmann. Phone: 402-444-1109.

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