Top Scams Business Owners Should Be Aware Of – When people embark on business ventures, the main aim is usually to make profit.
Nobody would want to lose their hard work, time, energy and resources to scammers or fraudsters. The truth however remains, that if a business owner is not careful, then you might fall prey to them.
It is therefore very important that in the course of running your business, you stay very vigilant and observant. You shouldn’t lose your guard because these scammers are always looking for new ways to attack and if you leave yourself vulnerable then they will have access to your business.
One of the very common scams these people operate through is accounts payable fraud. This can be very detrimental to large and small establishments alike as it attacks the department charged with the responsibility of paying suppliers and other vendors.
According to a report from JP Morgan 81% (source) of organizations were attacked with payment fraud in 2019 alone, after which only a small portion of losses were recovered because the scam was seamless.
So you see that in the best interest of your company or establishment, you have to always be a step ahead and take all the necessary precaution.
Now we are going to talk about the top scams that you have to look out for and take precautions against.
1. Internal Fraud
You know the saying about how the enemy within is very dangerous, well it applies to organizations and companies too. Understanding this one is not that complicated because they are actually perpetuated by employees.
Employees know the internal systems and processes as well as the weak links and the scammers amongst them then take advantage of the knowledge and act on it.
The Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey show that 41% of economic crimes in South Africa are perpetuated by employees, while only 36% is committed by external fraudsters and then there is a 21% collusion between the two.
Examples of ways that this scam can be carried out include:
a. Altering the banking details of suppliers and replacing it with either their own or that of an accomplice.
b. Including non-existent suppliers or employees onto the payroll or reaching an agreement with the suppliers to give fake invoices.
c. Tendering fake reimbursements for expenses that were not carried out.
d. Giving non-existent refund payments to customers.
2. Social Engineering
Social engineering is trying convince a person to give out certain information or carry out certain actions to his or her own detriment and this is the basis of a lot scams.
The scammers us the social engineering method to manipulate their targets into giving them the information they carry, honing in on the human impulses of trying to be of assistance, avoiding conflict, and the tendency to want to solve problems very quickly.
A scammer can deceive an employee into giving out confidential information and then gain access to the organizations systems through that means.
For instance, a fraudster could make contact with your accounts payable team and pretend to be a supplier trying to update their banking information on your system, but what they are actually doing is switching a legitimate supplier’s banking details with their own.
What then happens is that when next payments are disbursed, you will be sending money into the scammers bank account instead.
3. Business Email Compromise (BEC)
Business Email Compromise (BEC) is one of the methods of scams that is on the rise particularly because of how easy it is as well as the inability of some staff to distinguish between a fake and real email.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre, losses from BEC scams topped $12 billion globally in 2018, and 97% of the losses were ascribed to ‘false billing’ scams.
One of the patterns of BEC is supplier email compromise. This involves the scammers hacking their way into the email systems of the target companies’ suppliers. They will then be able to imitate the supplier company and pretending to be the said supplier will then proceed to send the target company fraudulent emails.
The advances and progresses made in the world of artificial intelligence, has made it quite easy for fraudsters to scam unsuspecting companies through impersonation. They can achieve this by creating realistic audio and video impersonations to deceive people.
They can create a believable audio or video impersonation of maybe your companies CEO or CFO giving instructions on how funds are to be disbursed which they can send to a staff who not knowing that the audio recording or video is fake will act on it and send funds into the scammers account.
They also maximise on the many social media platforms available for example LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc. They get to create fake profiles and impersonate people with the sole aim of scamming people of their money.
Phishing is another method that you have to be on the lookout for and this is usually done through Email. They can send an email that will have the reader either clicking on a link or downloading a file.
Once that is done, it has actually given them a gateway to infect the companies IT systems with their own software through which they can then siphon funds or confidential information.
To ensure that the reader either clicks on the link or downloads the file in the message, it would usually pose as urgent warning readers of account inactivation, cancellation, or even threaten financial losses if the reader does not act on the message right away.
The question that will be topmost on your mind at the moment, will be how to prevent this from happening to your business, organization, company or establishment.
Like we already pointed out at the beginning of this write up, you have to be very vigilant. One can never be too careful because these scammers are getting more creative, always coming up with different ways to achieve their aim.
You also have to train your staff properly so that they too can be vigilant to be able to point out suspicious activity and nip it in the bud.
Another way is by always reviewing and updating your establishments’ security controls and protocols to be able to wade off any of the scams.
You can also check out the eftsure’s SaaS platform. The SaaS platform digitises and automates key checks and processes so that it will not be susceptible to manipulation.
According to Ryan Mer, CEO, eftsure Africa, a Know Your Payee™ (KYP) platform provider, through the KYP technology verification of payees and eft payment data is carried out on a continuous basis. This protects companies and establishments from fraudulently altered payee information.