For Immediate Release
October 7, 2015
ABA Media Contact: Sarah Grano
(202) 663-5470
Follow us on Twitter: @ABABankers

5 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from Financial Fraud

Cyber Security Awareness Month: partner with your bank to prevent account takeover

WASHINGTON — Cyber-attacks against small businesses are growing increasingly sophisticated. Criminals use spoofed emails, malicious software and online social networks to obtain login credentials to businesses’ accounts, transfer funds from the accounts and steal private information, a fraud referred to as “corporate account takeover.” To combat this type of fraud, the American Bankers Association is providing advice to small business owners.

“Small businesses and banks are far more effective at combating account takeover when we combine resources rather than going at it alone,” said Frank Keating, ABA president and CEO. “A strong partnership with your financial institution is the best way to prevent and protect your business against these attacks.”

As part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, ABA offers small businesses these tips to help prevent account takeover:

•    Educate your employees. You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover. A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protecting your company and customers.

•    Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your cash and physical location. Do not use unprotected internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated virus protections on your computer. Use complex passwords and change them periodically.

•    Partner with your bank to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to your banker about programs that safeguard you from unauthorized transactions. Positive Pay and other services offer call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes and batch limits help protect you from fraud.

•    Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Look out for unexplained account or network activity, pop ups, and suspicious emails. If detected, immediately contact your financial institution, stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised. Keep records of what happened.

•    Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your bank will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement. If you don’t, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover. Talk to your banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities.

To learn more, see ABA’s Small Business Guide to Corporate Account Takeover (http://www.aba.com/Tools/Function/Fraud/Pages/CorporateAccountTakeoverSmallBusiness.aspx​​).

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $16 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $12 trillion in deposits and extend more than $8 trillion in loans.

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