As we approach the holiday season, business owners must stay vigilant to keep their financials and customers safe. Taking the time to reinforce fraud prevention plans with your employees is imperative.
While this season is typically a time to give thanks, embrace family, and celebrate, it is also prime time for fraud. The hectic nature of the season opens the door to a variety of ways to exploit business vulnerabilities. Business email compromise is one of the most popular schemes, creating vulnerability to financial information and assets.
“With staffing shortages continuing to plague many businesses, certain financial duties may be performed by someone less familiar with a particular role or relationship,” said Jeff Taylor, head of commercial fraud forensics for Regions Bank. “This can inadvertently make them more inclined to act on a nefarious request to change payment information.”
This year has seen an increase in high profile ransomware attacks on various key industries in the United States. The holiday shopping season brings an increase in these types of attacks across industries through email scams, infected email attachments and websites and phishing campaigns.
One simple yet highly effective way to mitigate the risk around potential fraud threats is to ensure employees, whether full-time, part-time or seasonal, are well-versed in identifying suspicious and/or malicious emails.
6 precautions businesses can take to safeguard against fraud:
- Implement a dual control process for the approval of payments or requests for changes to payment information
- STOP: Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments
- CALL and CONFIRM: Be especially wary if a company asks you to update your password or account information. Look up the company’s phone number on your own and call the company to verify
- Install and maintain the most up-to-date anti-virus software, firewalls, and email filters
- Always use caution when making any sort of online payment transaction
- Fraudsters also prey on the increased focus on giving during the holidays, so be mindful of criminals sending spoofed emails requesting support for fraudulent charities or causes
Criminals do not take a vacation during the busy holiday season. Ensure you are taking the right steps in protecting your business and private information to keep the holidays merry and bright.
For more helpful practices regarding fraud prevention, please visit regions.com/stopfraud and regions.com/fraud-prevention.
The information presented is general in nature and should not be considered, legal, accounting or tax advice. Regions reminds its customers that they should be vigilant about fraud and security and that they are responsible for taking action to protect their computer systems. Fraud prevention requires a continuous review of your policies and practices, as the threat evolves daily. There is no guarantee that all fraudulent transactions will be prevented or that related financial losses will not occur. Visit regions.com/STOPFRAUD or speak with your Banker for further information on how you can help prevent fraud.