I’ve been able to detect fraud multiple times in my career, but this particular case was very timely as it occurred just after we had attended one of Oakworth’s Fraud Prevention Seminars, led by their treasury management department.
We have multiple vendors set up in our system that we use quite often and have regular payment processes in place with each of these vendors. One day, we received an email from one of them informing us that they had switched banks and had a new bank account. We didn’t think much of it and set up an ACH to make the payment to the new bank account.
The Sr Financial Analyst had just attended Oakworth’s Fraud Prevention seminar and had a gut feeling and began to question the payment. The payment had gone through various approvals and was ready to send. Remembering the material from the Seminar, the Sr Financial Analyst decided to reach out and call the vendor. She called the number in the email and left a voicemail… which was unusual as they typically answer the phone.
She decided to not wait for a return call and reached out to her primary contact. Her normal contact indicated that they had not changed banks. They verified the existing information again and JetRight immediately stopped action on the ACH payment.
Several minutes later, someone called her back from the voicemail she had left. They explained that they had changed banks and needed the money immediately. The Sr Financial Analyst recalls they were extremely pushy with a sense of urgency. The Sr Financial Analyst tested them with a few friendly questions and they grew even more urgent. She immediately knew this was not the vendor and hung up the phone.
In my particular role I’ve dealt with other similar situations and the fraudulent parties are always very pushy, the request is always very urgent, and they are very demanding.
Always call the last known number of the requester and verbally verify any sort of banking information change requests from team members, vendors or anyone money is sent to. A critical step that can potentially save you from sending large sums of money to the wrong party.
Thanks to the quick action of our representatives at Oakworth bank, we were able to stop any form of payment within 5 to 10 minutes. Additionally, Oakworth offers a number of other tools such as positive pay and alert notifications that help us to monitor and prevent fraud.
Teresa Lewis, CFO