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Five key factors for combatting fraud attempts

Fraud attempts are becoming increasingly sophisticated and more focused on corporations. We asked SEB’s fraud prevention specialist to give some advice on preparing one's organisation for this new risk-tinged reality.

SEB’s fraud prevention specialist stresses that corporations can be subjected to several different types of fraud. The most common ones include:

  • CEO fraud, where the fraudster pretends to be the corporation's CEO and contacts an employee about an important payment that must be made quickly. It often involves a large sum of money.
  • Business email compromise (BEC) fraud, where the fraudster pretends to be a supplier or client via a hijacked or spoofed email and requests changes to an invoice or future payments.
  • Fake invoices, including offers designed as invoices, invoices from companies you have been in contact with that do not correspond to the agreement, and invoices from unknown companies.
  • Salary frauds, where the HR or salary department receives mail from an employee, whose email has been either hacked or spoofed, requesting that their salary account be changed.

But it does not end there. Fraudsters keep developing new and increasingly sophisticated methods, and when asked what may come next, SEB’s specialist paints a somewhat worrying picture.

“With AI and deep fake being added to fraudsters’ bag of tricks, it looks like we have some challenges ahead. These days, the voice of a trusted party can be faked in a quite convincing way.”

Five key factors 

Fortunately, there are ways to stay ahead of the game and combat fraud attempts against your organisation, where five factors are essential for succeeding.  

  1. Make sure that the duality of payments is in place

    Having more than one approver is recommended. There should be a four-eyes principle so that all payments must be approved by at least two people. This reduces the risk for mistakes. If the worst should happen and you get tricked by a fraudster to send money, your colleague and co-signatory might notice and stop the payment from leaving your account. From experience, we see that this one of the best ways to protect yourself from fraud.

  2. Introduce payment checklists

    Having a checklist is often a good idea, i.e. a few boxes to tick off before making a payment. We recommend, for example, to check the timing of the invoice follows the normal payment flows, verifying the sender’s e-mail, and doing an extra check-up if the payment is said to be urgent, which is always a red flag. By having routines and a checklist to go through before performing a payment you increase your chances of finding any potential incorrections and thereby can prevent yourself from transferring money to a fraudster.

  3. Hold regular training sessions for employees

    Doing regular training sessions is highly important. This ensures everyone is familiar with all aspects of your company’s payment routines and knows how to react if subjected to a fraud attempt. The best protection against fraud is to prepare and to act in a preventive way. By keeping you up to date and aligning the routines in your organisation, you will increase your chances of recognising a fraud attempt.

  4. Keep updated on fraud trends

    Since fraudsters keep developing their methodology, you should keep updated on what types of frauds are currently trending. At SEB, we provide updates on frauds via a webpage, which you can find at the end of this article.

  5. If a fraud does occur – act swiftly

    Contact the bank immediately; in some cases, we might even be able to stop a fraudulent payment. As a next step, report it to the police.

Get more information and tips for businesses on SEB’s page about fraud prevention:
How to protect your company against fraud (in Swedish)

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