Cybersecurity and Fraud Protection

Payments Fraud Activity Surged in 2018

According to the Association for Financial Professionals’ 15th annual Payments Fraud and Control Survey, payments fraud is becoming increasingly pervasive. Fraudsters are highly focused on infiltrating payments technology. While technology advancements can optimize and simplify processes, they can also provide a means for perpetrators to attack payment methods, commit financial crimes and inflict extensive damage. Learn how businesses are protecting themselves.

Payments Fraud Sets Record High for Third Year Straight

The last four years of the survey have recorded a dramatic increase in payments fraud activity. Last year saw the highest rate on record, with 82 percent of financial professionals reporting that their companies were targets.




Larger Organizations at Higher Risk of Attacks



Annual Revenue Less Than $1 Billion


Annual Revenue At Least $1 Billion



Check Fraud Drops Slightly, but ACH Fraud Increases

Though checks and wire transfers continued to be the largest targets for fraud, the percentage of these scams decreased. On the other hand, fraudulent ACH debits and credits increased—an indication that fraudsters are developing more sophisticated attacks, as ACH transactions are often more difficult to compromise.



Fraud by Payment Type


















Email Scams Grow More Sophisticated

Business email compromise (BEC) targets businesses and individuals responsible for initiating payments. Eighty percent of organizations were exposed to BEC scams in 2018—the highest number on record.


BEC tactics continue to evolve, but respondents reported the following common attacks by fraudsters:

81% Using spoofed email addresses to pose as senior executives directing a transfer of funds

44% Impersonating vendors in emails, directing payments based on authentic invoices

33% Pretending to be other third parties in emails, requesting changes in bank account, payments instructions, etc.


Other ways financial professionals are protecting their companies include:


use Positive Pay to verify the authenticity of checks


segregate accounts


perform daily reconciliation of check activity


perform daily reconciliation of ACH debits


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