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Preventing Business Fraud

As with your personal information, keeping your business' sensitive information secure is critical. Here are some ways you can prevent fraud in your company:

  • Password-protect laptops and encrypt sensitive files.
  • Protect passwords at work – don't write them down and leave them on your desk.
  • Install, use and regularly update anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer or network.
  • Use a firewall to prevent hackers from invading your computer/network.
  • Keep your computer/network up-to-date with software security patches.
  • Educate employees not to respond to or click links within suspicious e-mails as they can potentially infect their computers with keyloggers or other malicious software.
  • Protect statements that contain account numbers.
  • Conduct thorough background checks on applicants during the hiring process, especially prior to granting employees access to sensitive information or purchasing authorization.
  • Segregation of duties: no employee should be responsible for both recording and processing a transaction.
    • Set a limit to the number of people who can authorize purchases.
    • Set a dollar limit to the amount each person can authorize.
    • The person who keeps the books should not be the person who reconciles the statements.
    • The person who opens the mail and prepares deposit tickets should not be the person who keeps the books.
  • Run random audits or have a third party audit your books once a year, in particular for bookkeepers or employees who have access to financial records and documents.
  • Make sure all checks, purchase orders and invoices are numbered consecutively, and regularly check for missing documents.
  • Personally follow up on Customer complaints that they have not received credit for payments.
  • Check safety:
    • Use a "for deposit only" stamp on all incoming checks to prevent an employee from cashing them.
    • Require all checks above a nominal amount to have two signatures.
    • Never sign a blank check.
    • Sign every payroll check personally.
    • Avoid using a signature stamp.
  • Small business owners should take the time to review accounts payable by checking cash disbursements and payments. A very common scheme to look out for is billing-scheme fraud where an employee sets up fictitious "phantom" vendors.
  • Institute a "clean desk policy" to keep sensitive and/or customer information out of view.
  • Make employees aware that hackers can present a screen to system users requesting the entry of token codes and/or other information. Be mindful of unusual requests for the entry of information.
  • Be aware of messages that indicate web banking is unavailable. Hackers will frequently display this message to mask their activities in a compromised computer.

Questions or Concerns?

Please call Customer Service at 1.800.822.3321.

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