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Apr 22, 2020 | Risk Management

Payment security at a pivotal point

Payment security has always been top of mind for many organisations, but how do you protect your business at this time of unprecedented upheaval?

Avoiding fraud

Wherever you find money, you will find fraud attempts and, as technology evolves, so too do the methods used by fraudsters. It is apparent that the current pandemic is providing new opportunities for criminal activity and businesses around the world are seeing increased attempts by fraudsters.

Many of these recent frauds involve the attempted purchase of medical equipment, exploiting the fact that businesses are trying to protect their employees. Due to the time-critical nature of the purchases, as well as high demand, some businesses may have relaxed their usual due diligence and could be at risk of making purchases from fraudulent retailers who have set up fake websites.

Some frauds may not be obviously connected to COVID-19, but they are certainly capitalising on the uncertainty the pandemic has created. There has been an increase in attempts where a fraudster poses as a beneficiary and instructs a business to change the receiving account details because the pandemic has caused issues with their bank. Without applying due diligence to any change of beneficiary, an unsuspecting business could easily be duped.

It’s clear that in times of desperation some businesses are tempted to take security short-cuts in an attempt to expedite purchases. Unfortunately, this is playing straight into the hands of fraudsters. Professional-looking advertisements on social media, emails addressed personally and newly created websites selling medical equipment may look legitimate but aren’t guaranteed to be.

Simple steps to help protect your payments

Whereas fraudsters are ramping up to take advantage of the pandemic, corporate fraud can take many other forms, and the latest figures from the FBI IC3* show that businesses globally have suffered over US$26.2 Billion in losses due to business email compromise since 2016. The FBI suspects that business email compromise is a very small proportion of the total and the true figure is much higher. To read more about protecting your business against this kind of fraud, read our blog Preventing business email compromise.

When choosing a payment provider, there are a few things you may want to look out for to help give you confidence on your transactions.

It should be important to employ a network of experienced compliance professionals, with dedicated regional teams who are focused on local compliance requirements. This means they should keep abreast of the latest developments as they happen, reacting quickly and locally.

Your provider may also have invested heavily in advanced compliance programs and technological solutions that help detect, deter and report illicit activity. Monitoring technology should be adaptable worldwide, with the ability to track multiple languages and the different alphabets they might use.

In addition to this, they should be proactively engaging with regulators to ensure the compliance frameworks they create are based on appropriate global industry standards. These of course, are constantly changing. In any financial company, the compliance team needs to be innovative, fast-moving and forward-looking.

Your partner in international payments

Western Union Business Solutions is trusted by more than 60,000 businesses and individuals as well as 500 banks and other financial institutions to help move money around the world.

If you are looking for world class business and cross-border payments services, please contact our partnerships team at partners@westernunion.com or by completing this form. We’ll be more than happy to talk about how we can help you protect your payments and grow your business.

*IC3 – Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center. www.ic3.gov