Here at American Federal Bank, protecting our customers from fraud is a top priority and we want you to know about a threat that we have seen multiple businesses fall victim to.
Fraudsters know that many business owners and executives will be out of the office during the upcoming spring and summer seasons, and will use the opportunity to try and trick your employees. The fraudsters send email messages to your employees that appear to come from a company owner or executive, along with instructions to send money or sensitive information to them. This threat is very real and we’ve seen significant losses happen in our communities.
These attempts are especially deceitful because emails often make what appears to be a legitimate request, including sending an invoice with updated payment information. Employees believe they are just doing what their superiors or coworkers are asking them to do, and mistakenly comply.
Below are some steps to reduce the chances of an employee becoming a victim of business email compromise:
- Educate and train employees to recognize, question, and independently authenticate changes in payment instructions, payment methods (e.g., ACH to wire), or when pressured to act quickly or secretively.
- Be old-fashioned! Verbally authenticate any changes via phone call to a verified telephone number.
- Review accounts frequently.
- Initiate payments using dual controls.
- Never provide passwords, usernames, authentication credentials or account information when contacted.
- Don’t provide nonpublic business information on social media.
- Avoid free web-based email accounts for business purposes. A company domain should always be used in business emails.
- Consider registering domains that closely resemble the company’s actual domain to make impersonation harder.
- Do not use the “reply” option when authenticating emails for payment requests. Instead, use the “forward” option and type in the correct email address or select from a known address book.
If you do fall victim to one of these fraud attempts, please reach out to American Federal Bank as soon as possible so we can assist.