Coffee shop owner at the register in his coffee shop

Small Business Account Takeover

A Small Business Guide by the ABA!

Protect your business from a corporate account takeover!

Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business’ finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable.
What is Corporate Account Takeover?
Corporate account takeover is a growing threat for small businesses. In 2011, 72% of data breach cases affected businesses with 100 employees or less. It is important that businesses understand and prepare for this risk.
Cyber thieves target employees through phishing, phone calls, and even social networks. It is common for thieves to send emails posing as a bank, delivery company, court or the Better Business Bureau. Once the email is opened, malware is loaded on the computer which then records login credentials and passcodes and reports them back to the criminals.
Employee Education in Essential, but is Missing the Mark
You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover. A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protection your company and customers.
92% of respondents to a recent survey indicated employee education of small business employees was effective in reducing the threat of account takeover. However, nearly 80% of respondents to a small business survey said they had no formal internet security policy, with almost half indicating they provide no internet safety training to employees.
How do I protect myself and my small business?
The best way to protect against corporate account takeover is a strong partnership with your financial institution. Work with your bank to understand security measures needed with the business and to establish safeguards on the accounts that can help the bank identify and prevent unauthorized access to your funds.
As a shared responsibility between the bank and the business is the most effective way to prevent corporate account takeover.
Consider these tips to ensure your business is well prepared:
Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your cash and physical location. Do not use unprotected internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated virus protections on your computer. Use complex passwords and change them periodically.
Partner with your bank to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to your banker about programs that safeguard you from unauthorized transactions. Positive Pay and other services that offer call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes and batch limits help protect you from fraud.
Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Look out for unexplained account or network activity, pop ups, and suspicious emails. If detected, immediately contact your financial institution stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised. Keep records of what happened.
Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your bank will detail what commercially responsible security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement. If you don’t you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover. Talk to your bank if you have questions about your responsibilities
Small Business Guide to Corporate Account Takeover information is provided by the American Bankers Association.