Payments Fraud Still Widespread

Two-thirds of companies targeted in 2011, says AFP; checks top avenue.

Payments fraud remains widespread, but has inched down from the peak seen in 2009, according to the close to 450 corporate finance executives who participated in the Association for Financial Professionals’ eighth annual survey. And despite the prevalence of payments fraud, its cost to companies isn’t that high.

Two-thirds of companies experienced either attempted or actual payments fraud last year, down from 71% in 2010 and 73% in 2009. Bigger companies saw more fraud attempts than smaller companies, with 81% of those with annual revenue of more than $1 billion having been hit, vs. just 55% of companies with revenue of less than $1 billion.

The AFP reports suggests companies’ efforts to control fraud may be paying off, citing such methods as positive pay and daily reconciliations of bank accounts.

Even when fraudsters succeed, companies’ losses are not that large. Almost three-quarters (74%) of companies that experienced actual or attempted payment fraud last year said they did not suffer a loss, according to the survey, while 16% cited a loss of less than $25,000 and 10% had losses greater than $25,000. AFP calculates that the median actual loss was $19,200.

Checks are the most popular avenue for fraudsters, with 85% of the companies that experienced fraud or attempted fraud attempt saying it involved checks, vs. just 23% citing ACH debits, 20% corporate cards, and 5% each citing ACH credits, wire transfers and payroll cards.

The AFP survey suggests that attempts to steal from companies by compromising their online banking credentials are not that frequent. Just 4% said they were the victim last year of a fraudulent transaction that occurred online, while 8% said they had experienced an online fraud attempt that was unsuccessful.


The full AFP report is available here.




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