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General Fraud Prevention tips - Commercial Security Center

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General Fraud icon

The following guidelines should be considered when developing a fraud prevention program for your organization.

Administration and Technology

  • Understand your organization's specific fraud risks. Conduct a thorough audit of your organization's specific vulnerabilities in order to design and implement internal controls and fraud prevention programs. Commercial online banking customers should perform related risk assessment and controls evaluation periodically.
  • Protect access credentials. Never give out passwords, IDs or other authorization credentials. If you receive an email, phone call, or text message claiming to be from your financial institution, asking for your credentials, it is likely a "phishing" attempt. DO NOT respond to it.
  • Update security software Update antivirus and anti-spyware software and firewalls regularly.
  • Implement dual control. Institute dual custody for all online payment services (ACH, wire transfer, foreign exchange) and self-administration services (checks). Accounts should be reconciled daily to detect suspicious activity. The employee reconciling the account should not be a signer on or have access to the business account.
  • Protect all accounting documents by locking away check stock, signature equipment, invoices and critical account information.

Employees and Vendors

  • Conduct employee background checks. Verify educational and employment history, as well as references, to ensure no previous history of fraud or other illegal activity exists. For employees that will manage organization assets, it is especially important to conduct credit checks (if authorized by the candidate).
  • Train your employees in fraud prevention. Employees serve as the eyes and ears of an organization and by ensuring that your staff is knowledgeable about basic fraud prevention techniques, you'll establish a first line of anti-fraud defense.
  • Use "approved vendor" listings. This can help with fighting billing schemes and dealing with phony invoices. Management should routinely check the list of approved vendors and look out for unknown vendors, vendor names that are similar to other known vendors, vendors with no physical address or phone number or vendors that match an employee's address.
  • Centralize payroll check distribution. By centralizing payroll, management can help eliminate "ghost" employees; which include fictitious persons on the payroll, employees retained on the payroll that no longer work for the organization, or friends or relatives of an employee.
  • Create a fraud policy. Design, publish and implement a fraud policy that establishes expected employee conduct, prohibited actions, how fraud can be reported and the punishment for noncompliance.
  • Conduct routine and unannounced checks on high risk areas of your business, including the financial and inventory departments for vulnerabilities and possible fraudulent activities.
  • If you notice suspicious activity on your Bank of the West accounts, call us at 1-800-488-2265.


Report Fraud or Suspicious Activity

If you believe you are the victim of fraud or suspicious activity, call Bank of the West immediately at 1-800-488-2265.
TTY 800-659-5495

To report a lost or stolen credit card, call us at 1-800-996-2638.

IIf you've received a suspicious email, let us know by emailing us at:

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