11 Bank Wire Transfer Best Practices to Protect Your Business Finances
All over the world, cyber criminals are hard at work trying to get their hands on money from wherever they can get it. Even your small business could be a target.
One tactic they may use is to send you a fraudulent wire transfer request. They will contact you via email or possibly with an app like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Discord and, if they’ve done their homework, the request may look legitimate.
According to the 2020 Cyber Crime Report from the FBI, there were 791,790 complaints of suspected internet crime in the United States during 2020, an increase of more than 300,000 from 2019. This resulted in reported losses of over $4.2 billion.
In Iowa and Nebraska, reported losses totaled $21,396,701 in 2020 compared to $11,799,640 in 2019.
It’s important for you and your employees to take proactive steps to make sure cyber criminals can’t get their hands on your business assets. Here are 11 tips for making sure you don’t become a victim of wire transfer fraud.
Business Wire Transfer Cybersecurity Tips
- Be prepared. Implement a cybersecurity policy and review it often.
- Educate yourself and your employees on how email scams and wire fraud work and how to spot them. Read More: Business Email Compromise
- Use encrypted email for correspondence of sensitive information.
- Implement two-factor authentication for employee email login.
- Know your customers, their reasons for initiating or requesting wire transfers and their habits regarding such wire transfers.
- Always verify the authenticity of each wire transfer request by implementing a two-step verification process. Verify the request by calling the requestor using a number you have previously called — not the number from the current wire transfer request. Ask for the person to verbally repeat requests to ensure that the information received is legitimate.
- Implement a dual control system with duty segregation for transfer approval. For example, make one person responsible for receiving a request and a second person responsible for authorizing the release of funds.
- Review your business insurance policy. Does it cover financial losses due to cybersecurity fraud? Are there specific requirements that need to be met in order for this policy to be available?
- Don’t be pressured or rushed. Requests for changes or immediate action, or a lack of availability by phone, should be met with intense scrutiny. Slow down and follow your company process.
- When sending wire instructions, try to use regular mail, fax or do it verbally over the phone. If you must use email, send the instructions through a secure email portal and have the client call you to verify the information.
- Don’t accept wire transfer requests from public domain email addresses (like @gmail.com) or from such alternative apps as WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger or Discord. Wire transfer requests must be received from company domain email accounts.
Stay Cyber Secure; Protect Your Business Finances
Shielding your business against wire transfer fraud is critical to protecting your business’ financial assets. There are many actions you can take to avoid being a victim, but above all else you need to be prepared and educated.
Protect Your Assets: Small Business Cybersecurity
If you suspect that your business is the victim of wire transfer fraud, contact your bank immediately. The sooner they are aware, the faster they can contact the receiving financial institution to recover the sent funds.
For more tips and educational resources on how you can keep your business cyber secure, visit our online Business Security Center.
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