Nearly 75% US companies targets of payment fraud in 2015, says AFP survey

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The threat of payments fraud is on the rise and while continued reliance on cheques makes businesses vulnerable to attack, business emails are getting increasingly popular for fraudsters. That’s according to a new survey from the Association for Finance Professionals (AFP) and underwritten by J.P. Morgan, which says 73% of US businesses were targeted by fraudsters last year. That’s up from 62% a year earlier and while the survey only had 627 respondents, the results point to the growing awareness among treasury and finance professionals of the growing risk of payment fraud.

“Let there be no doubt: Payments fraud is an enormous challenge for all organisations,” says Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of the 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.”

According to the survey, 64% of those polled say their organisations were exposed to BEC scams as the practise becomes more common, but cheques continue to be the most popular method of targeting by fraudsters. While the shift to EMV is expected to reduce some aspects of payments fraud, 90% believe criminals will simply move to new channels.

“Each year, payments and cyber fraud schemes grow in sophistication and knowing how to recognize and manage these threats is critical to protecting your organization,” says Nancy McDonnell, MD and Treasury Executive for J.P. Morgan. “Investing in the appropriate data protection tools, infrastructure controls and employee education is essential for all businesses.”

The AFP also points out that even where criminals are ultimately unsuccessful, payments fraud is costly to businesses because of training, insurance and security.

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