B2B Payments

Blank Checks And PO Manipulation Cost Businesses Millions

This week, three new cases of accused internal fraud emerged, showcasing the variety of ways employees can steal company cash. Invoice and purchase order manipulation, company credit card abuse and fraudulent use of company checks all surface as cautionary tales for corporates’ internal financial processes.

But internal fraud is, of course, not the only risk businesses face, with this week’s B2B Data Digest also breaking down the latest numbers related to cyber fraud and business email scams attacking companies from the outside.

70 percent of data breaches in Canada involve a small business, the latest research from the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) recently revealed. The ETA warns that cyber fraud threats are hampering small businesses’ growth opportunities. In its announcement of the new research, the ETA also called on the Canadian government to introduce a tax incentive for small businesses to obtain cyber insurance and boost their cyber resilience.

$41,000: the average payout of a ransomware attack, new data from Coverware revealed. The average payout sum for the third quarter of 2019 is an increase compared to the same period last year, with the professional services, public sector, healthcare, software services and retail industries most commonly targeted by such fraud schemes, according to Bank Info Security reports.

$459,000 was allegedly stolen by a former Coca-Cola executive, who has been accused of manipulating purchase orders and invoices from Coca-Cola suppliers, which the company then paid. The scam reportedly allowed the former executive to use Coca-Cola money to pay for personal purchases like gift cards and luxury goods. “Employees who are trusted with access to corporate funds are not entitled to use them to enrich themselves,” said U.S. Attorney BJay Pak in a statement, local news outlet Action News Jax said.

$600,000 was reportedly stolen by a Canadian bookkeeper, who was found to have taken advantage of the fact that the company’s president, Robert George, signed blank checks for the bookkeeper to make payments in accounts payable and payroll. Reports in the Vancouver Sun said the bookkeeper used those checks to make payments into personal bank accounts, a court has found, and a judge has now ordered her to repay the stolen funds.

$600,000 is also the dollar amount allegedly embezzled from a Pennsylvania business, local reports in The Intelligencer said. A former employee of a local machinery business has been charged with stealing the funds by misusing company credit cards and company checks, an alleged scam that local law enforcement said highlighted the importance of “checks and balances” in company finances and payments.

$11 million is saved by organizations that adopt automation thanks to technology’s ability to detect phishing attacks, according to Agari’s latest Email Fraud and Identity Deception Trends report. The research found that organizations’ Security Operation Centers (SOCs) continue to rely on manual processes, opening up avenues for fraudsters to trick accounts payable, payroll and other finance centers into making fraudulent payments. Automation, the report found, yields an average of a 58 percent reduction in breach risk for U.S. firms.

$777 million was stolen from U.K. consumers in the first half of 2019, according to new analysis from Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee. The committee is now calling on the government to mandate a 24-hour waiting period on all first-time payments between bank accounts in an effort to address fraud — a tactic sure to heighten the conversation about the challenges of mitigating fraud in a real-time payments ecosystem.

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Latest Insights:

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. In the November 2019 AML/KYC Report, Zillow’s Justin Farris tells PYMNTS how the platform incorporates stringent authentication without making the onboarding and buying experiences too complex.

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