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Protecting your business from online fraud

Posted on:  ,  | Author: ATB Business & Agriculture

Over the past few years, agencies like the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre have warned of a sharp increase in the incidence of online fraud activities across Canada. That’s why experts encourage businesses to be proactive in protecting themselves from fraudsters, and use strategies such as two-step verification processes to prevent the damage online fraud can cause.

“It can be devastating for businesses,” stresses Vivienne Nicol, ATB’s Senior Manager, Fraud Prevention.

“Often businesses don’t realize what falling victim to online fraud can cost them or understand just how much the extra seconds it takes to use two-step authentication will save them.”

  • It saves you time and productivity

    If your business experiences online fraud, your financial institution may freeze the account as soon as a problem is detected, in an effort to stop fraudsters from doing more damage.

    “That can shut your business accounts down completely for at least a couple of days, sometimes even longer,” explains Vivienne.

    With bank accounts shut down, it becomes nearly impossible for businesses to do the everyday things they need to do to run their business.

    “People simply can’t do the work they need to do,” notes Vivienne. “Your payroll, your electronic transfers to vendors—all of the tasks that are essential to running your business are impacted. “

    Utilizing two-step verification as part of your online banking saves you from having to expend time and resources trying to undo the damage caused by fraud.

  • It saves you money

    Although most financial institutions will work with customers to facilitate reimbursement, Vivienne stresses that the process takes time.

    “As soon as there is fraud people have to go to the branch and do a declaration, then go to the police and do a police report and the police will do their investigation. Then a forensic investigation is completed by the financial institution to confirm that the customer was victimized. It can take time and until the process is complete, you’re out of pocket.”

    Businesses can also find themselves out of pocket for the other costs that come with unravelling the mess created by online fraud.

    “If you don’t have your own IT department, you’ll have to pay to have someone look at your systems and check for malware. It’s not a step you want to skip, because we’ve had companies say, no we’ve got it, we’re fine and we re-enable online banking and six months or a year later it happens again, because the malware was still there screen scraping and collecting data as you type,” explains Vivienne.

  • It saves your reputation

    When businesses fall victim to online fraud, there’s always the possibility that it will impact how others view their business.

    “If you’re a target, and it gets out there, people could view you as an unsafe company,” says Vivienne.

    “Customers may worry that their information has been compromised and vendors may be hesitant to work with you again because they don’t trust that your online banking is secure.”

    She notes that “if businesses weren’t paying attention to cyber fraud before, they need to start paying attention now.” Businesses that take steps to protect themselves from online fraud are also protecting their customers, which is good for building loyalty and retention (and saving your reputation).

The growing incidence of online fraud has prompted financial institutions like ATB to introduce two-step authentication processes like the new Enhanced Security Solution to help protect customers from fraud attempts.

“We really see fraud prevention as a partnership with our customers, because we need to work together to prevent it,” explains Vivienne. “Neither of us can do it alone.”

Businesses that work with their financial institution to prevent fraud may also be less attractive targets for fraudsters in the first place.

“We know that fraudsters typically go for the weakest target and that when we can shut them down right away, they’ll give up and look elsewhere. Taking those few extra seconds to verify your online banking transactions saves you time, money and effort and tells fraudsters you’re not worth the effort.”

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