How to Prevent Wire Fraud

Fraudulent wire activity is generally a result of account takeovers and email compromises. This form of fraud can be difficult to detect because they use a valid email address, craft their communication to mimic the owners, and add urgency to their request(s). Sometimes payment is expected from the recipient and the communication channel may have been used in the past and considered secure.

Spotting Wire Fraud

  • Urgency in the email request
  • Recipient is only willing to communicate through email
  • Spelling and grammatical errors
  • Email address from sender is not the same as the real owner
  • Wire instructions direct payment to known beneficiary, but the account information is different than previously used account details
  • Difference in the amount of funds requested from what had previously been confirmed

Any wire instructions that are received by email should always be verified with a phone call to a trusted number.

Preventing Wire Fraud for Businesses

  • Provide wire instructions through a secured email server, by fax, or over the phone
  • Have dual control sign offs on any wire you originate
  • Establish separation of duties within your organization
  • Have accounts for specific activity (examples below) to better manage and monitor
    • Wire Account
    • Bill Payment Account
    • Transaction Account