Electronic Payments Fraud is the intentional deception for either personal gain or to damage a person, company, or other entity. Scammers commonly use tactics such as monitoring email accounts, business networks, and other sources to try to find a weakness where they can hack into systems and either intercept incoming payment notices or send payment notices to receive payments into their own accounts. 

One common practice is they will spoof an email to make it look like it is coming from a legit business and request that payment be sent to an account that is different from the legit account for the business. An example of this is they may send an email with instructions to send an ACH for an invoice. The email address and body of the email may look like they came from a legitimate business, but in fact, they didn’t. The result is if payment is sent to the fake account, it likely may not be able to be returned. Here are some ways to help protect yourself, your business, or your employer: 

1. Check if the email is legit – many email programs such as Outlook and Gmail allow you to see where the email came from by hovering your mouse over the email address. If you see that the email address is different from the company name or doesn’t have any similarities to the body of the email, that would be a red flag. 

2. Contact the business directly – if you get an invoice to pay and it is unexpected or seems weird or off, call the company directly. Don’t call any phone numbers in the body of the email. 

3. Look for grammar and spelling errors – Carefully read the email. This is especially true if you know the source that it came from is fluent in the language you speak and you notice several grammatical and spelling errors which means it probably didn’t come from them. 

4. Links and Attachments – don’t click on any links or attachments until you verify the email is legit. Clicking on links and attachments could redirect you to malicious sites or download malicious software. 

5. Urgency – if you get a request for an urgent payment to be sent, be suspicious about it. Most businesses don’t ask you to send urgent payment unless otherwise arranged. 

6. Gift Cards – no legit company would ask for gift cards as payment if they were contacting you to pay something.

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