Entries tagged with “fraud”.


Cyber security breaches regarding financial data are serious business. If your business doesn’t take steps to secure its financial transactions, you run the risk of data breach.

This affects small businesses, large corporations, and governmental organizations. Everyone has their eye on cyber security from the top to the bottom. Benjamin Lawsky, New York Financial Services Superintendent, recently stated that cyber security is one of his biggest concerns regarding the viability of financial institutions:

“A question we often get as financial regulators is: ‘What keeps you up at night?’ The answer is ‘a lot of things.’ But right at the top of the list is the cyber security at the financial institutions we regulate…. I am deeply worried that we are soon going to see a major cyber attack aimed at the financial system that is going to make all of us to shudder.”

Lawksy is referring to a major breach, but there are real cases of cyber crime that affect small businesses every day. Cyber criminals typically select small businesses as their victims since they know that they won’t have sufficient security measures. Your risk of cyber crime is much higher if your business accepts credit cards. If you deal with digital financial transactions, then you need to put some security measures in place.

The best thing you can do is purchase a payment processor. Not only do these expand your options in terms of accepting credit cards, but they also protect your financial transactions. In addition, you can track individual transactions in case a payment doesn’t go through. Don’t wait for cyber criminals to find out that you don’t protect your financial transactions.

To talk more about cyber security breaches regarding financial data, or anything else, please contact us.

The high-profile corporations have definitely seen their share of the headlines on television, in newspapers, and in magazines regarding credit card and customer fraud. However, as much as small businesses have endured schemes, scams, and frauds, they are not always profiled or talked about in the news. These crimes have major impacts on small businesses, and the end results can be devastating.

Fraud prevention for small businesses should be discussed so employees, customers, vendors, and suppliers will feel educated on how to recognize potentially fraudulent activities. Fraud prevention plans should be implemented in every business, and you should consider the following:

- Create a way for employees to quickly report suspicious activities

- Provide up-to-date information to employees and customers regarding fraud protection measures

- Work with your employees to train them on a monthly basis to prevent fraud

You have to monitor your small business credit report, your financial accounts, your credit accounts, and other documents. When you are actively monitoring these documents, you are ensuring that fraud will be detected. Look through all of your transactions to be sure that you will not see anything out of the ordinary. Your business may have online credit card activity; if so you should pay attention to the purchase history of your customers. If you notice a particular customer, and you think the velocity of charges and the purchase history seem odd, then you may want to monitor this situation for fraud.

Preventive measures are available to help your business feel safe and secure; these measures and resources are also effective. Contact us on ways to help protect your business

In the past year, hackers have stolen approximately $1 billion from banks in the United States, Russia, Germany, China and Ukraine, among others. More than 100 banks in 30 different countries lost money in a hacking scheme that used malware downloaded from Russia.

The hackers gained access to the banks’ internal systems through a phishing scheme targeting bank employees. According to the Chicago Tribune, they used a tactic called “spear phishing,” in which targeted individuals receive authentic appearing emails. Some of the bank employees who received these emails clicked on email attachments, subsequently infecting their computers with malware.

Through this malware, called Carbanak, the hackers studied the employees’ actions at work.  They subsequently mimicked them in order to withdraw money. Two of the techniques they used were reprogramming ATMs to spill cash at different intervals and locations, whereupon “mules” collected it, and infiltrating customer accounts to artificially inflate balances and then withdraw the money immediately thereafter.

The hackers stuck to a limit of $10 million per bank, so that the activity was less obvious and, therefore, harder to detect. At this point, the hackers are still continuing to operate.

Unfortunately, the malware used, according to cyber security experts, points to an increased sophistication in the level of attacks. One expert refers to it as “leapfrogging” from previous hacking operations. Standard cyber security protocol instructs employees (and private individuals) to beware of unsolicited email. In addition, recipients should never open unrequested email attachments, and never click on links in emails unless the email is from a trusted source.

As hackers become increasingly proficient at targeting institutions, employees become one of the last lines of defense in protecting consumer accounts as well as financial information. As such, knowledge of cyber security basics is essential.

For more information on cyber security tips for your organization, contact us.

Fraud prevention for small businesses is easier than you think, and with these simple considerations you will be protected from a variety of fraud.

It is important to consider the goods you sell and if they could be fraudulently returned. Items that have been used, such as computer hardware, or gift cards, can be used and sometimes returned with the intent on fooling the sales associates. To protect yourself from any adverse situation, it is important to track the sale of each item using serial numbers and bookkeeping.

Addresses that your customers give you should be examined. A simple system that checks for address validity could be added to your website. If customers are hiding their real address, it is very possible fraud will occur.

Chargebacks are inevitable but not the end of the world. Some businesses simply budget for a few chargebacks a year, depending on how many goods they sell. However, using a payment processor can often give you insurance for a certain number of chargebacks, so you do not have to worry.

Be wary of potential partners. Scammers like to target small businesses thinking that they are easy prey. If you receive an e-mail or letter about a business proposition that sounds too good to be true, avoid it. Contacting businesses that you want to partner with proactively is a better strategy.

Feel free to contact us if you want more fraud prevention tips. Fraud is a concern for every business and could result in a major detriment to your business if you don’t take the necessary precautionary steps.

Tax season is a stressful enough time for most people. Now stress levels are rising to a head after fraudulent tax returns filed using the popular tax preparation software sparked concerns of a possible cybersecurity breach. The fake tax returns were discovered when taxpayers filed their state tax returns and instead were greeted with a message telling them that their taxes have already been filed. In the scam, the tax refund is issued to the fraudster who filed the initial tax return. The company involved did not believe that the system error was the result of a security breach, but that a failure did occur.

Historically, the vast majority of fraudulent tax returns have encountered involved federal tax returns. However, the government has cracked down on federal fraud activities. That has led fraudsters to try to scam state tax returns. The shift toward phony state tax returns is accompanied by an evolution in the methods that thieves are using to compromise financial data. Fraudsters used to file for phony tax refunds by stealing the personal information of taxpayers by using phishing attacks or identity theft. They would then use that information to create accounts and then file with the IRS.

Fraudsters are now taking advantage of weak password protocols. The fact that people use the same password across multiple sites is a major issue. That means a breach at another site that results in stolen passwords means that the information is vulnerable not just from the site where it was stolen, but also across multiple sites. The fraudsters work from a long list of stolen login credentials obtained from breaches at other companies.

Companies need to incorporate strict password protocols that ward off hacker attempts to enter networks. Users need to be aware that if their information was part of a breach at one company, it could be used to try to enter systems elsewhere. Finally, users should take it upon themselves to employ strong password habits: Don’t use the same password across multiple sites and make sure your passwords are strong, and are changed from time to time. To learn more about security procedures, contact us.