Direct deposit scams are on the rise, with bad actors attempting to redirect employees' paychecks into their own accounts through various deceptive tactics, such as phishing emails or compromised employee accounts. Let's take a closer look at how these scams work and what you can do to avoid them.
Understanding Direct Deposit Scams
Direct deposit scams often start with a bad actor impersonating either a client or an employee. They'll try to deceive an employee with access to a company's payroll system into changing their direct deposit information. The scammer typically acquires this information from the company's website, emails, or even social media profiles on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn.
Once armed with this information, the scammer impersonates the employee, sending a request to modify their direct deposit bank account details. When the employee falls for the trick and makes the change, the funds are funneled into the scammer's account. Recovering this money can be challenging, especially if it's been sent overseas.
Red Flags to Watch For
To avoid falling victim to direct deposit scams, be vigilant and keep an eye out for the following red flags:
1. Unusual Sender: Be cautious if you receive an email about updating your direct deposit from an unfamiliar or suspicious email address.
1. Urgent Requests: Scammers often create a sense of urgency, pressuring you to act quickly. Be skeptical of emails demanding immediate action.
3. Misspelled URLs or Email Addresses: Check for misspelled domain names or email addresses. Scammers often mimic legitimate ones with subtle differences.
4. Generic Greetings: Be wary of emails with generic greetings like "Dear Employee" instead of using your name.
5. Unusual Requests: If the request seems odd or out of the ordinary, verify its legitimacy through a separate communication channel.
Protecting Yourself and Your Company
Now that you know the red flags, it's crucial to take steps to protect yourself and your organization from direct deposit scams. Here are some best practices:
1. Employee Training: Educate your employees about these scams. Ensure they are aware of the red flags and know what procedures to follow if they suspect a scam. Our clients can benefit from the security awareness training and phishing simulation campaigns we regularly provide.
2. Verification Protocols: Establish a verification process for any direct deposit changes. This may involve contacting the employee directly through a known and secure communication channel.
3. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enforce MFA for all accounts. This adds an extra layer of security, making it more challenging for scammers to gain unauthorized access.
4. Cybersecurity Training: Regularly train your payroll team on cybersecurity best practices. Knowledge is your first line of defense against scams.
Direct deposit scams can have serious financial and reputational consequences for both employees and companies. By staying vigilant, educating your team, and following best practices, you can help protect your organization from falling victim to these scams. We are committed to your safety and security.
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