Money transfers are a routine part of business; whether it’s paying invoices, purchasing inventory or anything else, businesses often take cybersecurity for granted. Businesses are more susceptible than normal consumers to frauds, scams and other cyber attacks during money transfers. Hackers have become more sophisticated and use technology to mask themselves when preying on businesses. It’s important to know the risks that accompany money transfers and how your business can safely send and receive money.
What threats should you look out for?
Financial institutions of all kinds that deal with money transfers continuously educate customers on specific recurring scams. These include:
Phishing: Phishing focuses on trying to obtain sensitive information from customers. This information can include passwords, account numbers, etc. that hackers can use to steal data and money. Hackers try to get access to customer’s data by trying to get them to click links, download files and other actions that allow access to the user’s device. Some phishing attacks can be difficult to recognize as attackers pose as reputable people and companies.
Family Scams: Family scams are another avenue hackers use to steal data and money from people. Hackers target friends and family members of a specific person and they act as them while they ask for money. They may request the money sent in a gift card or cash; this is a huge red flag because money that’s sent like this is very hard to trace. Older people like grandparents and elderly parents are targeted by hackers posing as their children or grandchildren. They may have specific information to make it seem like the person and they try to prey on the parents’ emotions to get them to send a wire transfer.
IRS Fraud: Imposters posing as IRS representatives are an increasingly problematic threat, especially during tax season. They claim that customers owe a specific tax amount or they are getting a refund; they can reach out by fraudulent phone calls, fake IRS notices and via email. It’s important to know to know that the IRS does not require you to pay via wire transfer. Any request that claims it’s time sensitive or requests a specific payment method should raise alarm.
Good cybersecurity practices for money transfers include:
Don’t be pressured into sending money: Often times, people’s emotions are used against them to get them to send money to hackers fast. If someone claims to be a friend or family member, verify it. Call them back and ask why they need money sent to them. If possible, meet in person before sending any money.
Avoid “deals” and promises from people/businesses you don’t know: A lot of scams take the shape of fake lottery winnings and fake deals on products. When offered something that sounds too good to be true, it likely is a scam. Avoid clicking links or downloading any files from the sender of these kinds of messages.
Double-check information: When sending a wire transfer, ensure the money you’re sending is the correct amount and it is going to the correct person or business. Any mistakes in this can result into a wrong recipient getting the transfer and you can be responsible for that.