Account takeover is a form of identity theft where criminals gain control of a bank account, often by stealing user names, passwords, and other credentials. Once this information is obtained, thieves can create fraudulent transactions on your account. With the growing use of the internet, this type of activity (cybercrime) continues to increase. A distinction is usually made between consumer (non-business) account take over and corporate (business) account take over.
Consumer Account Take Over
Consumers continue to lose money from various scams. Ways in which criminals obtain consumer information continue to evolve, and once they have the necessary credentials, thieves typically steal the money from the bank accounts electronically or using images of checks, may attempt to create fraudulent checks with signatures that look legitimate. Ways in which consumers can protect themselves are:
- Shred documents that contain personal or financial information
- Use and memorize strong passwords
- Use anti-virus, anti-malware protection software and keep it updated
- Update internet browsers regularly from the internet browser's company website
- Do not click on links or attachments in emails from sources that cannot be verified
- Be aware of current scams and trends targeting consumers
Work from Home Scams target consumers directly; these scams assist criminals with moving stolen funds and worse yet, the consumer may face criminal charges due to his or her deliberate or unknowing participation in the scam. Recruitment occurs through newspaper ads, online employment ads, spam, and social networking sites. For more information on ways to best protect yourself, review the "Fraud Advisory for Consumers Involvement in Criminal Activity through Work from Home Scams". It was created as part of a joint effort between the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC). It contains detailed information on Consumer Account Take Over.
Corporate Account Take Over
Typically, when a business's account information is compromised, criminals can initiate fraudulent wire and ACH (electronic) transactions. The stolen funds are either sent directly to fund cash cards or to a "money mule account" where they are quickly transferred to another account controlled by the thieves. This type of electronic theft has caused--and continues to cause--significant financial harm to businesses and, in turn, has impacted communities and financial institutions of all sizes.
Many regulations and acts do not extend the same protections to businesses as they do to consumers. As a result, it is increasingly more important that businesses implement preventive measures, such as:
- Educate employees of the various fraud schemes
- Enhance physical security to protect against information being obtained
- Enhance the security of your computer and networks to protect against fraud
- Enhance the security of corporate banking processes and protocols, such as dual control
- Understand responsibilities and liabilities
- Detect and respond to attempted and successful scams, as well as "red flags"
For more information on ways to best protect your investment, review the "Fraud Advisory for Businesses: Corporate Account Take Over". It was created as part of a joint effort between the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS?ISAC). It contains detailed information on Corporate Account Take Over.
For more information on reducing Corporate Account Take Over, review NACHA's Prevention, Detection and Reporting for Business Customers of Financial Institutions.