Entries tagged with “fraud”.

There is no question that a traveler needs to make a number of preparations for a big trip, but repeatedly one of the biggest problem areas tend to be managing finances when on the road. Chalk it up to the excitement of the trip, being in a new place, or finally relaxing from work and stress everyday in a commute, but people get sloppy. And when that happens, the problems occur when traveling.

Fortunately, most issues that cause situations of fraud and money loss when out of country can be prevented. A number of simple steps can be taken by any person, both before the trip and during it. And the ramifications can be awesome in terms of making sure that a trip is enjoyed without disappointments, at least financial ones.

1. Inform Bank and Credit Card Companies

The first step anyone should take is to inform his or her bank and credit card companies of the pending trip. This includes the general location and dates of the trip. It’s a simple matter; one just needs to call the institution and make sure the information of the trip is posted to the account information. Just about every time the account is pulled up by a financial company, so is all the immediate information, including notes. This data gives a flash view of pertinent account status, which is critical when fraud occurs or a valid purchase occurs in an unusual place.

2. Use Paper

Second, a traveler shouldn’t put all of his reliance on digital payment tools. There are plenty of places in the world that don’t take a credit card, no matter whether it’s a Visa, Mastercard or an Amex. Cash rules in these locations, and a wise traveler is one who plans for these situations or, worse, when a card gets lost. Having a back up plan allows a person to complete their trip instead losing it altogether. Cash is also good for avoiding suspicious-looking card reading machines too. Not every vendor is on the up-and-up.

3. Keep Wallet Close At All Times

Third, never ever put a wallet out of sight. That means not leaving it on a desk, a nightstand in a hotel room, or on the restaurant table when paying the bill. In public, wallets are immediate targets, easy to grab and run with even in a crowded, public place. By keeping it secure, even with a covered harness inside pants or a jacket, it makes a wallet difficult to grab. Pickpockets rely on distraction to do their job. Most travelers never see a hit coming. Instead, burying a wallet in a hard to reach place force them to choose other targets.

4. Check and Monitor Accounts Daily

Fourth, if you can do so, check and monitor accounts daily. Stuff happens when one is on the road in unfamiliar places, and they will show up immediately on an account screen. However, be careful about your connection. If it’s not yours, Wi-Fi and hotel connections are often compromised and a fast way to lose a password to a hacker. Use our own account or not at all. It’s better to then check with a phone number and account dial in update.

These are practical, simple steps that everyone traveling should practice regularly. Most fraud is done because people are careless. Tie up loopholes like these and you won’t be a statistic.

Small businesses are always at the risk of failure. While poor cash management is one contributing factor, the real culprit is internal theft. Thus, fraud prevention for small businesses should be a top priority.

Crimes vary from simple cash register skims to sophisticated embezzlement that siphons off capital for months, potentially years.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners “Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse: 2014 Global Fraud Survey” indicates that the typical organization loses 5 percent of revenues each year to fraud. The median loss due to embezzlement was $130,000.

The report found that the smaller the business, the more disproportionate the loss. Why? Smaller business tend to shirk on anti-fraud controls. As a consequence, cash and funds sneak out the back door, vital business revenue is stolen, and the business faces tremendous loss.

It’s often the case that by the time fraud is discovered, it’s too late. Forensic accountants arrive long after a significant amount of money has been siphoned off, costing businesses dearly. However, they should still be utilized. According to the report, organizations that implemented proactive fraud prevention measures resulted in losses 60 percent smaller and schemes 50 percent shorter in duration than organizations that did not implement fraud prevention measures.

“Small businesses face a unique set of challenges when it comes to detecting and preventing fraud,” says James D. Ratley, president and CEO of ACFE, adding “Losing … money to employee theft is an expense many small businesses just can’t absorb. You rely on the trust of your employees to make your company successful. But how much trust is too much?”

Considering that small businesses don’t have money to burn, the extra cost of lifetime protection seems like a good investment. There are also ways small businesses can protect themselves, including:

- Conduct background checks on all employees

- Write-out and implement a code of ethics

- Divide bookkeeping and bill payment authority

- Deliver unopened bank statements to top management

- Develop a reporting mechanism or hotline for possible fraud

Keep in mind that the vast majority of fraudsters are first timers, often working with a company for years before they start to embezzle. While a background check won’t predict fraudulent behavior, you should always proactively monitor and understand any risks or warning signs.

To learn more about fraud protection for your business, feel free to contact ProPay. Call 888-227-9856 or email marketing@propay.com.

An important aspect of fraud prevention in your business is protecting against outside threats. Hackers are often able to find out your information by preying on unsuspecting employees. Smart businesses don’t put themselves in a situation where a simple conversation could lead to data breach. Most hackers are primarily interested in financial data. But before they get there, they know it’s easier to hack into email and social media accounts. According to a recent Entrepreneur article, they’ll try to trick your employees into giving them this information:

“Hackers use techniques that take advantage of an unwitting insider. They can use LinkedIn to find out the names of your administrators and the systems they use, and then send a spear-phishing email to hijack their credentials.”

We urge businesses to take steps to protect their data. This starts with your website and online accounts and extends to your financial data. Even if you take no other steps regarding network security, you need to protect your financial data. If a hacker finds out your customers’ financial information, then he can ruin your business in a matter of hours. If you store, transmit, or process cardholder data, then you increase your risk substantially. If you remove this sensitive cardholder data from your systems you reduce your risk substantially. You should consider working with a payment processor that make securing data a top priority. In addition to giving you more options in terms of accepting payment methods, payment processors also secure your financial data.

Your fraud prevention strategy shouldn’t end with payment processors, but it’s a vital component of how you protect your business. To talk more about fraud prevention for small businesses, please feel free to contact ProPay. Call 888-227-9856 or email marketing@propay.com.

At least one, and possibly two, cybersecurity breaches have recently affected one of the nation’s largest wealth management firms.

A new financial advisor, recently promoted after undergoing years of training, stole customer information from the firm’s data system. More than a quarter of a million clients of the firm had their names, account numbers and the amount of money in their accounts posted on an online data sharing site, with a subsequent offer to sell the information for a particular amount of bitcoins (online digital currency).

The suspect in the case purportedly downloaded client information by running internal reports on the firm’s wealth management clients. He subsequently transferred the information to his own personal devices. Investigators discovered the data after retrieving the employee’s personal computer from his home.

While the advisor admits to obtaining the data, he claims he did not post it, nor put it up for sale. Some investigators have postulated that hackers stole the data after he placed it on his personal devices, resulting in two separate breaches affecting the same group of individuals.

In response to the data theft, the wealth management firm has now limited employee access to client information, so that large amounts of information regarding the firms’ clients will no longer be available to any one individual.

According to cyber security experts, a cautious approach regarding data access is the best. Rogue employees are one of the most difficult threats to detect, and a “cloak and contain” policy, allowing individuals only the amount of information they need to do their jobs, is the best way of to keep client data safe.

To learn more how to protect your customer’s credit card and payment information feel free to contact ProPay. Call 888-227-9856 or email marketing@propay.com.

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.