Wire Transfer Fraud

Bank of Houston N.A. has seen a rise in wire transfer fraud with criminals targeting unsuspecting businesses with increasingly sophisticated phishing and spoofing scams. The best defenses against wire fraud include rock-solid internal procedures and training your employees/staff to recognize the signs of suspicious activity within the company. Organizations should implement one or more of the following best practices in an attempt to combat wire transfer fraud.

Best Practices to Avoid Phishing Scams and Wire Fraud

#1 – Recognize when you’re being phished via email
Scrutinize all email correspondence regarding wiring funds. Ask yourself the questions below.

  • Who is requesting funds?
  • Why are they requesting funds?
  • Does the email address match exactly?

#2 – Minimize wire payments
If a supplier makes a wire transfer request for services, the best practice is to ask to pay via ACH or credit card, as those methods offer you more protection against fraud scams.

#3 – Confirm wire payments over the phone
Always verify the authenticity of each wire transfer request. Call the person or company using a number you have previously called — not one from the current wire transfer request — to verbally verify it.

#4 – Be highly suspicious of a change in wiring instructions
Implement a call-back verification process when setting up payment instructions for a new vendor/supplier or making changes to payment instructions for an existing vendor/supplier.

#5 – Be wary of foreign banks
Unless your vendor is foreign, it is highly unusual for vendors to use a foreign bank to collect payments for domestic services.

In addition, it is a good idea to implement internal controls, such as dual control (2 people authorization) and segregation of duties (i.e. one person receives the request for funds, a second person authorizes the release of funds). The company should implement a cybersecurity policy and review it often.

If your business is a target of wire transfer fraud, immediately contact us at:

Houston Office 713.497.1515
Dublin Office 254.445.2213