3 Easy steps to follow to protect your business from bank account fraud.

With the end of the year being such a busy time of year, make sure to protect your organisation from bank account fraud by following these 3 easy steps. 

At Southey Attorneys we are often involved in helping businesses with a wide range of business transactions. This sometimes includes working with clients to catch fraudsters who have tried to take advantage of them.

One of the most common fraud examples we have seen is bank account fraud.

Fraudsters work by targeting organisations who work with suppliers. The fruadsters send the business an email informing the organisation that they are changing their banking details. The client then changes the bank details and pays invoices to the new bank account. 
This fraud is sometimes only discovered 90 to 120 days later, particularly if the supplier provides payment terms.  By this stage, the fraudsters have closed the fraudulent account and disappeared with the money.
Fraudsters know that organisations sometimes struggle during high pressure times because of the volume of work or because of staff shortages due to staff being on leave.

The deception is actually relatively easy to spot, particularly when the accounts team have been educated as to what to look out for.  In addition, the banks are very active in working with clients who have experienced problems with bank account fraud.

Having worked with situations where clients have defrauded in this way Southey Attorneys advise that our clients take the following precautions:

1. Be vigilant over December and Easter as during these two times in the year there may be high volume pressure or staff shortage pressure.

2. Phone the supplier using contact details you know and trust to find out if they are changing their account details.

3. Look out for irregularities in e-mail addresses, bearing in mind that these irregularities can be as small as an extra letter in the address.  Your email system should pick up these irregularities, the key is to be attentive to those irregularities.

As a supplier, it’s also important to follow up with clients who suddenly change their paying patterns, particularly if the client has always paid within 30 days and then suddenly doesn’t pay. 
Developing a good relationship with your client’s accounts and admin teams will enable open communications and teamwork in ensuring that this type of fraud is picked up early between your two organisations.

It’s also important to set up a policy with your clients where you detail the process that would take place for a change in bank account details from the outset of your relationship with them.  This process will empower both sets of admin teams to pick up suspicious activity immediately and diffuse the organisational communication confusion which the fraudsters use to steal money.

As you finish off your work year, Southey Attorneys encourages you and your staff to stay vigilant and protect your organisation from fraudsters of this season.