Huntington Insights | Ask the Expert | Spring 2018

Asset protection planning & tips to avoid payment fraud

3 strategies to help you protect yourself from and mitigate payment fraud.

Fraud doesn’t discriminate. No matter who you are, and what you have, everyone is at risk, says Steve Rhodes, executive vice president and Treasury Management director at Huntington. The statistics are alarming. The Association for Financial Professionals 2017 Payments Fraud and Control Survey indicated that 75 percent of the companies surveyed were targets of payment fraud in 2016, up from 71 percent in 2015, and 74 percent of those organizations reported they were exposed to business email compromise, up 10 percent from 2015. Fraudsters cast a wide net to cheat, lie and steal.

“They cover lots of ground, from sending sophisticated emails to lure unsuspecting victims onto malware, to hacking passwords and account details, to stealing paper checks from desk drawers,” says Jessica Greene, vice president and Treasury Management senior product manager.

Huntington assists corporate clients with creating a sound strategy to help prevent and mitigate payment fraud. These common-sense tools can help secure your company.

Employee education

Educating your employees is the single most important thing you can do to help prevent payment fraud, Greene says. The more savvy front-line employees are, the more protected your company will be.

“Show them what to look for,” she says. “Familiarize them with current scams, and give them opportunities to practice recognizing fraud.”  Provide examples to test employees to ensure they recognize scams and provide additional payment fraud education.

Greene says careful attention to detail is critical to preventing fraud. Make sure employees understand the basics – don’t write down passwords or store them where others can access them – and consider using apps that leverage a single master password to access individual site passwords stored behind a firewall.

Employers can also leverage conversations with their bankers and banking websites, and make sure they understand banks will never ask for personal information such as Social Security or account numbers.

Increase awareness

Install the most up to-date operating system and browser software, be sure your firewall is secure and question anything out of the ordinary. “Fraudsters prey on people’s willingness to help out, be efficient and get things done, so slow down, pay attention and get a second set of eyes on anything out of the ordinary,” Greene says.

Vendors requesting payment be sent to a different address or that a new routing number be used are red flags. Be especially wary of email that states the requested action is time-sensitive, or correspondence that states the sender will be unreachable. If you’re unsure whether the request is legitimate, call and find out, as even messages that appear to be from a trusted source may not be.

Implement internal controls

Allow employees to make smart decisions about transactions, then set up a system of checks and balances for protection. "Dual control is a great tool," Greene says. "When you have two people involved in a transaction, it lessens the opportunity for a breach, helps ensure accuracy and adds a layer of complexity to make it harder for would-be fraudsters to compromise accounts.”

Greene says a verbal approval process — never email — and fluid communication about transactions can keep fraud at bay. While financial institutions review for fraud, businesses are still responsible as the first line of defense to be aware of account activity and have appropriate security measures in place.

In addition, businesses can take advantage of Huntington’s Business Security Suite, designed to make it easier to monitor payments and stay a step ahead of threats to finances. And cyber liability insurance+ which can help businesses protect themselves against the negative impacts of payment fraud.

"Fraud mitigation should be viewed in conjunction with an overall business continuity strategy, and your financial institution should be helping your business operate and be successful,” says Rhodes.


Our Experts

Steve Rhodes
Executive Vice President and Treasury Management Director

Jessica Greene
Vice President and Treasury Management Senior Product Manager
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+Insurance products are offered by Huntington Insurance, Inc., a subsidiary of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated and underwritten by third-party insurance carriers not affiliated with Huntington Insurance, Inc.