Many businesses today are becoming more and more aware of the risks associated with payment fraud. And, quite frankly, they should be. While the network of fraudsters only continues to get larger, these savvy individuals and networks are always on pace, or even a few steps ahead of the game, and are ready to attack. They have become so sophisticated on their efforts to successfully intercept corporate funds, that by the time a company thinks they might be a victim, it’s far too late.
The reason why businesses are learning more about payment fraud is simple: Either they themselves or their peers are becoming victims. The company down the street, a competitor, a vendor, etc... word spreads quickly. Payment fraud in business, is becoming like the dreaded ‘C’ word in the world of healthcare - cancer. In some way, shape or form, everyone is affected by it. That’s becoming our reality today. Every business will be affected by it at some point if they haven’t already. The question is, in what way?
Two of the most common types of fraud as it relates to bank customers:
- Check Fraud – While the use of paper checks is declining in the U.S., checks still account for a large portion of payment transactions, and fraud is always a risk. Whether the fraud is internal (an employee) or external (someone outside the organization), legitimate checks are being forged and counterfeit checks are being digitally altered to resemble a check that is genuine. Legitimate check alterations are also becoming relevant again. Payee names and/or amounts are being washed and changed.
- ACH Payments – ACH payments have become one of the primary means of noncash payment in the past decade or two. Fraudsters typically get a hold of banking account information to manipulate payments from the account. This can be done by opening accounts through identity theft or taking over an account online through the installation of malware on the company’s computer.
So, what can be done? How does a business adequately protect itself? What protocols can be implemented to help company members gain a peace of mind? Not just the owners, C-suite executives and top level management, but the employees that are in position to make simple decisions that relate to everyday operations of a business, including payments.
- Protect your checks with Positive Pay. With Positive Pay, your bank can check the account number, check number and dollar amount of each check presented for payment against a list of actual checks. You can decide whether to pay a check or not.
- Protect your online payments with ACH Filter. ACH Filter takes a proactive approach to filtering ACH debits by sending email notifications to those in the company with authorization levels. The filters can block transactions, authorize them, or mark them for review.
These services offer a convenient way to gain peace of mind and added security by reducing your exposure to payment fraud.
In addition to these services, companies should always look to improve their internal controls and keep them strong. They should understand the importance of these controls and the reality of fraud. Good communication, ongoing training, and incorporating multiple employees in the financial processes are highly encouraged and considered best practices.
Don’t take a chance on your business. Fraudulent activity is, unfortunately, here to stay.