Payments fraud decreased overall in 2020 compared to the previous year, but three in four businesses and organizations were still the victim of some kind of payments fraud, according to survey results from the Association for Financial Professionals and JP Morgan. In this article we discuss some of the most common types of payments fraud that occurred in 2020 and how businesses like yours can protect themselves using accounts payable automation software.

Common Types of Payments Fraud

Most Common Types Payments Fraud in 2020

  • Business Email Compromise (62%)
  • Outside check or credit card forgery (52%)
  • Direct fraud from vendor or outsourced professional services firm (19%)
  • Account Takeover – Malware, spyware, hacking etc. (12%)

How to Protect Your Business Emails from Being Compromised

Business Email Compromise (BEC) was one of the only types of payments fraud that increased according to survey results. In fact most other sources of payments fraud decreased on average over the course of 2020.

BEC payments fraud is commonly perpetrated when a fraudster compromises one of your regular vendors’ email clients and sends falsified invoices, according to the FBI website. These bogus invoices look legitimate but have updated mailing addresses. Another common way is when an outside party impersonates one of your vendors with an email address that is deceptively similar, requesting payment.

“Versions of these scenarios happened to real victims,” said the FBI website. “All the messages were fake. And in each case, thousands—or even hundreds of thousands—of dollars were sent to criminals instead.”

Best Controls to Prevent and Contain Email Compromise Fraud:

  • Implement business-wide policies for providing verification on any changes to existing vendor’s invoices, banking information or contact information (cited by 70% of survey respondents)
  • Confirm all requests for funds transfers by speaking directly with an authorized person at the vendor company. Use an approved contact list to check this, not numbers listed in an email (67%)
  • Prohibit making payments initiated by emails or other less secure messaging systems (66 %)
  • Require signatures from senior management for invoices over a certain payment threshold (58%)
  • Strict user authentication and tracking to access network and payments initiation

How to Mitigate Payments Fraud with AP Automation

Many organizations struggle to implement company-wide controls. The right accounts payable automation software can simplify this so businesses can more easily enact the controls listed above to prevent BEC payments fraud. The right AP solution will also be able to help secure your payments against internal and external fraud in the following ways.

  • Align security and payments teams on one solution. This helps prevent false billing, fraudulent payments and reporting fraud with user-based approvals and time-stamping for improved audit traceability and approvals tracking. It also enables tailored workflows to enact strong management controls.
  • Built-in detection and security tools makes it easier to prevent phishing and duplicate payments
  • With secure, automated ACH business can securely transfer funds from a business’s bank directly into the vendors’.
  • Secure paper checks with positive pay so checks are only cashed on a preapproved basis
  • With direct integration to your ERP or accounting software, it is easier to mitigate reporting fraud by eliminating manual data entry.

Now that you understand how AP automation could benefit your organization, it's time to evaluate the options and find the right solution for your needs. Contact an Admiral executive today for a complimentary consultation.