Lately we’ve been seeing quite a change when it comes to fraudulent attempts within the businesses we serve. Stacey Coyne, vice president of treasury management at Rockland Trust, says she now sees regular occurrences of attempted fraud.
“Over the last three years, I have spoken with more business owners who have just experienced an attempted fraud attack than any other time in my 30 years in banking. This is not something we take lightly.” said Stacey.
In fact, 81 percent of organizations surveyed by the Association of Financial Professionals reported that their companies were victims of payments fraud last year. This is the highest percentage on record. Fraud prevention and cyber security must be top of mind for all business owners because the numbers are showing that it’s not a matter of if, but when you could be targeted for payments fraud.
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But how can you better protect yourself? Here are seven things to know about fraud prevention:
Take a Minute
“The first thing I can recommend is to simply stop and read your emails. I know I sound nuts, but I’ve seen so many people fall for an email that tells them their vendor has changed their bank and wire account numbers,” says Stacey.
The very first thing to do when you receive an email requesting a payment address change is to take a step back and ask yourself “Does this make sense? Would this person normally send me something like this?”
Talk to a Person
Email scams are not always obvious, and they are getting savvier. Consider the time, email address and language used in the message. Don’t be fooled just because the email includes a convincing logo, as it’s important to pay attention to and verify even small details, such as the domain name on the email address. Sometimes if you look quickly a “1” can be mistaken for a “T,” for instance. When in doubt, pick up the phone and validate the request for money.
Checks, wire transfers and automated clearing house (ACH) transfers are all secure, but you need to know who you’re sending these payments to and verify it’s legitimate. Once the money is transferred, it’s difficult to retrieve it. A short phone call can save your business time and frustration.
There are several internal checks and tools you can put in place to help prevent fraud. “The more layers of protection and tools in place, the better off you’ll be,” Stacey recommends.
Pro Tip: If you can act within 24 hours of a fraudulent incident, the chances of recovering your money dramatically increase.
Most banks, including Rockland Trust, offer Positive Pay, an anti-fraud tool that helps detect check fraud and protects your account from unauthorized check and incoming ACH transactions.
Use the Buddy System
Another good internal practice is dual control processes for all payments, meaning you should have two people look at each and every transaction. You may already have this process in place for checks: one person prints, and you sign; and the same can hold true with bill pay, ACH and wire transfers. These processes can help catch mistakes like transposed digits or wrong account numbers.
Do a Daily Check
Use online and mobile banking tools to your advantage and check your account balances daily. You may also want to set up text, email or other alerts for banking and transaction activity. Getting these updates on a daily basis gives you a chance to react quickly and call your bank as soon as you notice anything unusual.
Lock it Up
Another key to protecting your business and customers from fraud is thinking about what information you’re exposing, even unintentionally. If someone came and took a picture of your desk right now, what information would they find about your business, employees or clients?
Everyone walks around with a cell phone in their pocket that has a camera on it. Because nothing tangible is taken, you may not even realize what’s been stolen until it’s too late. Creating a clean desk policy can help keep sensitive information safe.
Have a Plan
Finally, be sure you have a process in place in case of fraudulent activity. Create an incident response plan and train employees to know who to call, what to do and how to react. You should also establish IT and internet usage policies to ensure computers are updated with the latest anti-virus software and backed up in case of an incident. These processes enable your business to respond quickly and mitigate negative impacts.
Rockland Trust is happy to conduct training's and talk to your financial team about bank fraud, as well as help employees keep their personal accounts safe. Reach out to the Treasury Management Team today to find out more about what tools and processes you can add to help prevent fraud.Protect your business in six easy steps with our 2022 Fraud Prevention Checklist.
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