More US companies targeted for payments fraud

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Nearly three out of four American businesses were targeted for payments fraud in 2015, according to research by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).

The ‘2016 AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey’, underwritten by JP Morgan, had 627 participating treasury and finance professionals. Survey responses suggest that 73% of all US companies experienced payments fraud last year; that matches the largest percentage since 2009, and was up from 62% in 2014.

Yet even without facing a direct substantial financial loss, payments fraud costs American organisations resources in the form of security, cyber insurance and training.

“Let there be no doubt: Payments fraud is an enormous challenge for all organisations,” said Jim Kaitz, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of AFP. “One of the toughest payments fraud challenges we are seeing is business email compromise (BEC) scams, which are growing increasingly sophisticated and successfully infiltrating email systems at numerous organisations.”

BEC scams are an increasingly common type of fraud that greatly impacts wire fraud. In 2015, 64% of organisations were exposed to BEC scams. Although cheques continue to be the payment method most targeted by fraudsters, in 2015, 48% of US organisations were exposed to wire fraud, an increase from 27% in 2014 and 14% in 2013.

“Each year, payments and cyber fraud schemes grow in sophistication and knowing how to recognise and manage these threats is critical to protecting your organisation,” said Nancy McDonnell, managing director and treasury executive for JP Morgan. “Investing in the appropriate data protection tools, infrastructure controls and employee education is essential for all businesses.”

Although treasury and finance professionals are pinning their hopes on Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) chip cards to alleviate at least some payments fraud, 90% believe that criminals will shift their focus to other payment methods if EMV chip cards are successful; an increase of 10 percentage points from 2014.

More on the 2016 AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey.

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