Watch Out for Wire Fraud

corporate employees learning about wire fraud prevention and awareness

When it comes to protecting your business from wire fraud, you can never be too careful.

Businesses often report receiving wire fraud attempts every week, if not every day. Sophisticated organized criminals have developed increasingly sophisticated ways to access confidential information. And since wires transfer funds immediately, it’s often not possible to retrieve payments once they’ve been sent. Owners or employees may not notice an irregularity until it’s already too late.

Common Red Flags

Icon for Common Red Flags
Icon for Common Red Flags
While fraud attempts may look different from one instance to the next, there are a few key indicators that suggest possible fraudulent activity. Make sure to keep an eye out for the following when receiving a wire request:
  • Vendor changing account number. If you’ve recently paid a vendor and then receive an email requesting payment to a new account, you should always call the vendor to confirm.
  • Misspelled words or grammatical errors. Writing mistakes often indicate that the sender of an email is not who they are claiming to be. The request may be fraudulent if you notice errors.
  • Altered email address. When receiving a wire request through email, you might notice the email address is slightly different than normal. Maybe there’s an extra letter, or a “1” instead of an “l”. This likely means fraud!

Dual Controls Help Minimize Risk

In addition to paying close attention to any wire requests received, there are other simple precautions you can implement to help keep your transactions secure.

A great place to start is to utilize dual controls. Dual control means requiring two employees to input and review outgoing wire transfer requests. The idea is to have one person who consistently creates the payment, and a second person who is the approver. This should be a set process that is always followed, no matter how high up in the organization an employee might be.

In addition, any time a wire request is received internally, you should either call or visit that person to verify the requestor is who they say they are.

Take Steps To Secure Your Email – And Your Accounts

Email security is of utmost importance for any business. Once an email account is compromised, the potential for damage is high – whether through accessing confidential information or being able to impersonate an employee and initiate fraudulent requests.

All employees should follow regular security protocols when using their company email accounts. Creating safe passwords and learning to recognize phishing attempts are standards worth setting at every level of your organization.

In addition, there are ways to structure financial accounts so that security is optimized. Many businesses start small and don’t necessarily take the time to adjust their account structure as they grow. Your banker can help create a tailored solution that works best for your business. And remember to reconcile your electronic payments on a daily basis! The only payments that should be sent out are those that have been authorized.

Always Make a Call

Even with proper account structures and email security in place it may be difficult to spot and prevent fraud. A reality of the world today is that there is plenty of potentially compromising information available on the internet and criminals are skilled at finding this information.

You should never trust email alone for payment requests or change of payment instructions. Always make a validating call to the actual person making the payment request using a trusted phone number that is already on file. Never use a phone number obtained from an email or text, you might end up talking to a fraudster trying to trick you!

Have questions on how you can stay protected from wire fraud? Contact your banker today.

  • This content is general in nature and provided for informational use only. Content may be used in connection with the advertising and marketing of products and services offered by SouthState Bank, N.A. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. This is not to be considered legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You should seek individualized advice from personal financial, legal, tax and/or other professionals, as appropriate depending on the specific facts of your situation. We do not make any warranties as to the completeness or accuracy of this information and have no liability for your use of this information.

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