Today’s fraudsters no longer pose as a Saudi Prince that needs your help. They lurk in every social media corner and are leveraging the mistakes of the uninformed and impassive. Their tools are cutting edge and include infotech and emotional intelligence. According to the 2020 AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey, 81% of financial professionals report their organizations have been victims of attempted or actual fraud. How can you protect your money against their well thought out attacks? Read on, and I will share how you can anticipate and successfully defend against their fraudulent assaults.
Stay educated! We all know knowledge is power, but information must stay current to be effective. Today, phishing scammers are focusing on the accounts payable departments of businesses of all sizes. Other departments targeted by fraudsters recently are operations, customer support and vendor management. C-suite executives are still sought out, however they are no longer the prime target. Fraudsters troll social media and stalk hacked email so they can pose as a known vendor or client of a business. Then the fraudster will use emotional intelligence to coerce, intimidate, or schmooze an employee into changing payment instructions. Sometimes these measures are not needed, indifference and disinformation can pave the way for the fraudster just as easily. Once a business employee is persuaded that the instructions are legitimate, the next step is pivotal. Fraud can easily be stopped right here by a policy that compels that employee to pick up the phone and verbally confirm the new instructions with a known contact of their vendor or client. Without this policy, most employees send the funds out to fraudsters quickly, satisfied they have averted a problem by their action. Once the funds have been sent, it could be a matter of days or weeks before the intended payee gives notice of a missed payment. This type of fraud can easily be averted with the proper internal written policy.
Your employees are your first line of defense. Training and appropriate policy are key.
Keep in mind that according to the FBI IC3 2020 Complaint Statistics Report, Texas businesses are the 3rd hardest hit in the nation. Texas’ strong economy draws fraudsters from around the nation and world. Once a business has experienced fraud, it is likely they will be targeted again. Not only are your funds at stake, but so is your reputation. An annual audit of the amount of private information you keep on file of vendors and clients is recommended. Implement secure written policy for all employees that access a computer for their job duties. If you aren’t sure where to start, I am happy to provide a Best Practice sheet for your employees.
Here are some additional tools and best practices for mitigating fraud. To stay informed of the latest fraud trends and tools, make an annual appointment with your treasury management professional at Texas Partners Bank for a thorough review of your services and internal procedures.
Tools for Fraud Mitigation:
- Positive Pay
- Dual Control for Wires and ACH
- Wire and ACH Tokens
- ACH Blocks and Filters
Best Practices for Fraud Mitigation:
- Lock up checks
- Use bank fraud protection tools
- Perform background checks for employees with access to financial services
- Use Dual Control
- Do not share usernames or passwords
- Only use secured networks
- Verbally verify identity for all communication and payment instruction changes