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How to teach your employees to avoid wire fraud

Email-based wire fraud is a big problem for businesses of all sizes. If you’re a small business owner, you probably know to watch out for phishing scams in your email, but are your employees equally aware of the risks?

Wire fraud leads to more than a billion dollars in economic losses to businesses every year. Here are some guidelines you can use to keep your company safer:

  1. Educate your employees about how phishing happens.

Phishing can involve someone “spoofing” an account. That’s when scammers send out emails that look like they’re coming from a familiar address. Often, there’s only a letter, number or some other small detail that’s different from the real thing. Other phishing scams are harder to spot because a bad actor can gain access to an executive’s account and use it in their schemes.

  1. Explain what warning signs should make employees cautious.

Most of the time, there are some signs that a request for a wire transfer or payment is part of a phishing scheme. Commonly, you will see:

  • Rush requests: The email insists that this is a critical payment that has to be made immediately or dire consequences will result.
  • Unusual payment amounts: If your employees see a larger-than-normal invoice, they should always stop to ask questions — even when it comes from a familiar email account.
  • Poor grammar or spelling: If an email looks like it was written by someone who isn’t a native English speaker, don’t assume that the sender was just tired or in a hurry.
  • Different return email address: When your employee clicks “reply” on an email, does the same email address come up or is it different? If it doesn’t match the email from which the message was sent, sound the alarm.
  • Unavailable senders: Any email that cautions an employee not to call the sender because they are out of the office or away from their desk should be treated with suspicion.
  1. Implement strong security policies.

If you haven’t had your security processes evaluated by a professional, it may be time to do so. It’s important to use the right security software to protect your interests.

If your company is a victim of wire fraud, it’s important to seek legal representation right away to minimize the fallout and protect your brand.