Identifying and Preventing Bank Fraud at Work

If you receive an email from your CEO asking you to wire money, beware. It could be a phishing email from a criminal trying to steal money from your business. Email phishing scams and business identity theft are on the rise.

This year, JP Morgan took a survey of businesses across the country to find out how prevalent bank fraud was in 2018. The results were sobering. The survey found that 82 percent of companies were targets of payments fraud last year.

Small business owners are often under the misconception that their businesses are too small to be the target of payments and bank fraud. Unfortunately, this attitude makes smaller businesses a great target for criminals, as owners are unsuspecting and may not have taken proper security precautions. Whether your business is large or small, bank fraud is a serious threat to your company. Here are two common types of fraud and what you can do to prevent them.

Internet Phishing Attacks on Businesses

Internet phishing is the attempt to illegally acquire sensitive information from an individual or business. Sensitive information includes bank information, credit card details, and even account usernames and passwords. A phishing scam often begins with a threatening email that claims your account is somehow compromised. To resolve the issue, the email urges you to click on a fraudulent link and enter sensitive information.

Approximately 80 percent of companies experienced an attempted Business Email Compromise, or BEC, phishing scam in 2018. Seventy percent of these schemes involved check fraud. Phishing scams are increasingly sophisticated, especially when they target business executives.

A common tactic is for fraudsters to send a spoof email from a CEO or president to a company’s financial director with an urgent request to wire funds. The email may include the CEO’s real email, email signature, and possibly a headshot. However, the email contains fraudulent wire instructions. Believing the email to be legitimate, the financial director may complete the instructions. Since it’s a wire, funds are pulled immediately and irrevocably.

To prevent your company from becoming a victim of a BEC scam, consider creating a dual-control wire procedure. This requires multiple employees to authenticate and fulfill a wire request. Also consider requiring employees to call the CEO or sender of the email to confirm wire and other banking requests.

Business Identity Theft

Identity theft has been a hot topic for years. Individuals are common targets for identity theft, but businesses can become targets, too. Business identity theft may occur when a criminal gains access to your business’s credit card or banking information. This may happen during a physical burglary or over the internet if your network is not adequately protected. Identity theft may also occur if a fraudster uses your company name and information to open credit cards in your name.

To prevent business identity theft, maintain strong network security policies and procedures and protect all of the data your company stores, including customer data. Always shred credit card statements, bank statements, and ATM receipts. Don’t give your credit card number out over email or to someone who’s called you. Ask your bookkeeper to reconcile your bank statement monthly, and run your business’s credit report every year to look for potential fraud.

Platinum Bank’s Measures to Protect Business Customers from Fraud

Platinum Bank protects customer accounts and data on all fronts. We operate in a secure environment to maintain a safeguard on your account, from our team of tellers to the CEO. Platinum Bank is committed to educating customers on the payments fraud threats their businesses face, including BEC scams and business identity theft. We help our customers set up dual-control procedures to approve wire transfers and conduct annual reviews of customers’ accounts payable systems to prevent future fraud.

The bank also offers Positive Pay, a check matching and ACH debit-matching service. Enrolled customers provide us with a file when they complete check runs that allows us to match check or ACH debit information with the information provided in the file. If the dollar amounts differ, we alert our customers, giving them a chance to stop check fraud attempts before they post to their account.

Platinum Bank is committed to your security and privacy. For more information on bank fraud and how we prevent it, or if you believe suspicious activity has occurred on your account, email Vice President of Cash Management Zach Busch or call him at (651) 332-5215.

 

As industry competition rises, more and more SME businesses are turning to the global markets, contributing vast resources and efforts to implementing strong export business plans.  Is your business keeping up with these forward thinking companies?  After dabbling in the export market arena via unsolicited export orders, many manufacturing firms are evaluating their global market potential and are creating small- and large-scale business plans to take advantage of their export business growth.

Why export?

Manufacturing companies are looking to broaden their scope of business, create new avenues for profits, and gain market share in their given trades.  Executed intentionally and tactically, a business plan that includes a development plan for exporting goods can augment corporate sales, create more jobs, and increase the overall profits of the organization.  This not only contributes to internal business growth, but also helps national economies grow and expand.

Is Exporting included in your 2019 Strategic Plan?

Considering commercial expansion through a strategic product exportation plan can prove to be an invaluable move to a company’s future.  That being said, deciding to secure export working capital can be a daunting undertaking, even to the most seasoned business professional.  By partnering with a credible, SBA-savvy lender, however, business owners can feel at ease with the process of securing capital for their company’s development.  Teaming with the ‘right’ bank will facilitate the acquisition of funds and create a seamless portal for companies to manage and mitigate their risk.

 

It is a question that every business asks – “How do I choose the right bank for my business? Are they a business bank? Convenient locations? What about mobile banking with online options?” While these are important factors, it is crucial to consider a valuable intangible – which bank offers your business the best and most comprehensive relationship? Who can you see as a trusted adviser on your business team?

The relationship you form with your banker will go far beyond choosing the correct credit facility or opening a depository account. It is a collaborative approach to grow with your business and the ability to adapt and be nimble when adversity hits – to be a real partner.

Here are some qualities to look for when selecting your most advantageous business banking relationship:

  • Knows Your Business. Your banker should have specific knowledge of what makes your operation unique, your competition, and the challenges and opportunities your business may face. This will allow your banker to create unique recommendations and advise your business to reach your goals. Ask your banker about their experience with similar companies. Schedule routine in-person meetings. Ensure that their short-term and long-term goals are in line with yours.
  • Highest Level of Customer Service. Is a key element of being able to identify if your bank views your business as important to them. Having a team that is dedicated to knowing and serving you allows you to be confident in the messages portrayed by the bank. A banking partner will have multiple people ready to take your call, promptly respond to your emails, provide transparent advice and is available to meet with you in-person when you need them.
  • Engaged Ownership & Management. Having an outstanding banker is valuable. Having access to multiple members of a team that include senior management who can offer knowledge, connections and a seat at the approval table – is priceless.
  • Protecting Your Company. Continuing education is imperative in today’s business world. A true banking partner will have committed professionals who keep well-informed of detrimental business issues (.i.e. cyber security and fraud) and offer proactive solutions to defend against potential dangers. The ability to identify areas of weakness and offer security recommendations, or present efficiencies by stream-lining processes, are ways to identify an engaged and involved cash management team. Tools such as Positive Pay, call-back services and device authentication are additional ways to protect your business against possible risks.
  • Being a Partner. Fair-weather banking has no place in a true banking partnership. Your banker should be a constant advocate for your business during your business’s highs and lows. A partnership allows for fluid communication, sound advice and creative problem solving. As a business owner, you should never be met with confusing, high-level financial language from your banker. When collaborating to create solutions, a true partner will encourage outside-the-box thinking and will become an essential component of growing your business.

Ensuring that your current banking relationship is strong can prove to be incalculable – not only today, but in the strategic planning for your future development. We encourage you to ask the question “is my current business bank a vendor or a partner?” You’ll find it time well spent and you will be better positioned for a more successful tomorrow.

Platinum Bank believes in creating partnerships with small-businesses across the Greater Twin Cities Area. Our core is Business Banking. Platinum Bank was created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Founded in 2007, we understand your challenges because we, too, are a growth-oriented company. We are open-minded and provide transparent feedback that you probably won’t hear from most banks. We are committed to learning and telling your unique story and advocating for your business. Our promise to you is a team that is dedicated to serving your needs and actually doing what we say. We don’t want to be a vendor; we want to be a partner – your partner. Come experience the Platinum difference.

PLATINUM BANK WEST

605 N Hwy. 169, Suite 100

Plymouth, MN  55441

PLATINUM BANK EAST

7667 N. Hwy. 10

Oakdale, MN 55128

PETE ODELL

Senior Vice President, Commercial Lending

651.332.5221 (direct)

612.244.7013 (cell)

podell@platinumbankmn.com

ZACH BUSCH

Vice President/ Cash Management Specialist

651.332.5215 (direct)

612.231.9619 (cell)

zbusch@platinumbankmn.com