How To Keep Your Company and Yourself Safe from Fraud
keeping-my-information-safe | Read Time: 4 minutes
By Ray Abbott | Published: April 2022
Whether it’s a compromised email, ransomware, mail theft, or other criminal attempt, fraudulent schemes continue to trend upward and can cost businesses and consumers alike.
Preventing fraud requires vigilance from every employee to protect your company’s finances and information. Here are some tips to help protect your business and yourself.
Scammers don’t discriminate when it comes to the size of the businesses they target, putting companies large and small at risk. ‘The best defense is a good offense,’ so you will want to take some proactive steps to help prevent falling victim to online scams or cyberattacks.
Building a strong IT and cybersecurity team is a good first step to help your business put the digital infrastructure in place to make your work environment more difficult to infiltrate.
Ensure your business banking accounts are enrolled in online banking and take the time to set up card controls and account alerts to maintain strong oversight. Remember to not use the same passwords across multiple sites and always ensure your bank has multi-factor authentication for your accounts.
Additional proactive steps that can help protect your business include:
- Reconciling accounts daily to stay organized in real time and mitigate risk.
- Ensuring no single employee has access to every part of the company’s financial accounts.
- Dedicating one secure laptop or workstation for online banking/financials when possible, and avoid using it for email and other online browsing.
- Ensuring all devices are protected and security software is updated (i.e., current security patches and antivirus software).
- Taking inventory of the customer information your business stores, who has access to it, and ensuring it is locked down or destroyed when no longer needed.
Check and Payment Fraud
Check and payment fraud continued to rise in recent years and can have a major impact on businesses and consumers alike, but there are measures you can take to help protect your company, including:
- Invoicing right away if possible. The sooner you get an invoice out after your products or services are sold, the sooner you should or could get paid.
- Requesting deposits when taking orders if possible.
- Offering discounts when taking orders to encourage early payment.
- Accepting cards and offering ACH as a means for payment rather than extending the payable timeline.
- Utilizing positive pay services can help prevent fraud, as details you share with your bank about the checks your business has written can be compared against checks being cashed or deposited to ensure payments match.
- Implementing incoming and outgoing wire alerts.
- Implementing smart safe technology, particularly for large cash deposits, which can help ensure payments are properly tracked and deposited, as well as reduce human error and save employee time.
Phishing and Spoofing
Phishing and spoofing are other common scams that can be costly if you fall victim. Scammers often attempt to spoof legitimate emails, texts and even phone calls that look as if they’re coming from your financial institution.
Be mindful that banks typically do not call you directly, and when in doubt, you can always hang up and call your local branch or the bank’s customer service line to verify if the call is legitimate.
These scams often involve asking for sensitive information to be provided “urgently” or asking recipients to click a link that allows malware and other programs to be installed on devices. It is important to review emails and other requests for sensitive information closely to look for warning signs of fraud and never click a suspicious link.
Phone scams also continue to increase, with criminals spoofing real phone numbers for businesses to give the appearance their calls are legitimate. These scams not only impact you and your business, but can also be detrimental to your customers if your organization’s numbers are spoofed.
If Your Business is a Victim of Fraud
It is important to have an incident response plan in place to help you act quickly. Talk to your insurance provider to see if they offer cybersecurity policies and incident response services. If your business is the victim of fraud or cyber breaches, take these steps:
- Identify what was compromised and consult your IT and security, legal and finance teams as well as various service providers.
- Contact your financial institutions to freeze your accounts, place a stop payment on missing or stolen checks, report instances of fraudulent charges, get new cards and account numbers.
- File a police report and ensure you’re also following any other reporting requirements for law enforcement and regulatory agencies.
Education can be the most powerful tool to prevent fraud, so ensure employees receive regular training to help protect your company and themselves. For more tips and resources, visit WSFS’ Knowledge Center and Security pages.
- Report suspicious cyber fraud to the FBI: https://www.ic3.gov/
- Fraud Resources from the FTC: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/
- Caller ID Spoofing Resources: https://www.fcc.gov/spoofing
About the Author – Ray Abbott
Ray Abbott is senior vice president, head of cash management at WSFS Bank. He has 35 years of experience in the financial services and banking industry. Ray is the Delaware United Way’s Banking Sector Campaign Chair, and a member of the Delaware Bankers Association’s Electronic Fraud Task Force, the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, and the Association for Financial Professionals. He received his bachelor’s degree in business and economics from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA in accounting from Saint Joseph’s University.
How To Keep Your Bank Accounts Safe from the Latest Fraud Trends
Instances of fraud have continued to rise in recent years, and it can often seem like scammers are able to stay one step ahead of their victims. As new schemes continue to emerge, it is important for consumers and businesses to remain vigilant to protect their information and bank accounts. Here are some recent fraud trends and tips to help protect yourself.Read More
How To Spot and Avoid Common Scams that Could Hit Your Wallet
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which serves as a great opportunity to brush up on common scams and how to protect yourself. Scammers work around the clock to find new ways to defraud innocent consumers, and thousands fall victim to scams each day.Read More
Proactive Considerations for Mitigating Financial Cyberattacks
Whether it’s a compromised business email, ransomware, accounts payable fraud, mail theft, or an investment scam, we’ve all heard of, experienced or know someone who has fallen victim to one of these fraud trends. Even as technology companies and financial sectors work together to develop innovative ways to protect accounts and businesses, hackers are working simultaneously to develop their own “innovative” methods to gain access to money that isn’t theirs.Read More
Can You Spot a Phishing Scam? 3 Common Scams and Red Flags
Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. And in this time of expanded use of online banking, the problem is only growing worse.Read More
Digital Considerations to Help You Prevent Fraud
You’ve seen it – someone sends you an email posing as your bank, asking you to verify your account information. Or maybe your business receives an electronic invoice from a vendor with a minor, yet off-putting, detail – like an unfamiliar email domain name. One small lapse of judgment on your part, and you’re compromised.Read More