Cyber criminals are increasingly targeting small businesses to transfer funds from accounts and steal private information, a fraud referred to as “corporate account takeover.” Criminals use spoofed emails, malicious software and online social networks to obtain login credentials to businesses’ accounts, which they then use to make illicit transactions.
That’s why The Savings Bank is encouraging its small businesses customers to be vigilant and proactive, especially when conducting business electronically.
The Bank is also reminding its customers that the month of October has been designated as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). NCSAM is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity and increasing the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. This year marks the ninth annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security.
“Small businesses are a growing target for account takeover,” said Marla Snyder, Vice President – Compliance at The Savings Bank. “A strong partnership with The Savings Bank will give our customers the tools needed to shield themselves from this attack.”
Combating account takeover is a shared responsibility between businesses and financial institutions. Bankers can explain the safeguards small businesses need and the numerous programs available that help ensure fund transfers, payroll requests and withdrawals are legitimate and accurate. Employees should be trained about safe internet use and the warning signs of this fraud, as they are the first line of defense.
“We’re far more effective at combating account takeover when we combine resources than going at it alone,” said Snyder.
As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, The Savings Bank offers small businesses these tips to help prevent account takeover:
- Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your physical location. Do not use unprotected internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated anti-virus and anti-spyware protection on your computers. Change passwords from the default to something complex, including at point-of-sale terminals.
- Partner with your bank for payment authentication. Talk to your banker about services that offer call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes, batch limits and other tools that help protect you from unauthorized transactions.
- Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Put your employees on alert. Look out for strange network activity, do not open suspicious emails and never share account information. If you suspect a problem, disconnect the compromised computer from your network and contact your banker. Keep records of what happened.
- Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your financial institution will detail what commercially reasonable 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 banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities.
In addition, The Savings Bank offers a Guidebook and short video for business owners. Businesses can visit any of the eight branch offices of The Savings Bank to speak to the manager or visit online at www.tsbawake24.com.
To learn more, see the American Bankers Association’s Small Business Guide to Corporate Account Takeover (http://www.aba.com/solutions/fraud/pages/corporateaccounttakeoversmallbusiness.aspx).
The Savings Bank is a mutual savings bank with eight offices located in the communities of Wakefield, Lynnfield, Andover, Methuen and North Reading. For more information about The Savings Bank and its lending programs, visit www.tsbawake24.com or call 800-246-2009 to speak with a member of the Commercial Banking Team.