Protecting your business from scammers and fake invoices

As cybercrime continues to grow across all industries, businesses need to prepare for the likelihood that they may be targeted by scammers at some point. Without having suitable protective measures in place, organisations are becoming increasingly vulnerable targets for scammers.

Cybercriminals are steadily developing more sophisticated methods of attack as their abilities increase. Today’s scams can be incredibly convincing, often using legitimate business names and logos to avoid suspicion and appear more credible. Scammers use various media, including calls, texts, and emails, so you need to be vigilant with your security to ensure your business is as protected from cyberattacks as possible.

While not a new phenomenon, fake invoices are a common way for scammers to target businesses. More than $800,000 was reportedly paid to false bills by Australian businesses in February of this year alone, with email scams the most common method of attack.[1] Increasingly uncertain times mean that businesses and workers are, more than ever, vulnerable to attack by cybercriminals, especially as we work in a progressively more digitised world.

When it comes to fake invoices, strong cybersecurity approaches may not work as human error plays a huge role in these attacks. Companies lose money because people review the invoices and believe they’re legitimate, so they approve them for payment. This means you need to implement additional measures to minimise human error and reduce the risk of paying fake invoices or providing confidential company information to scammers.

By deploying automated invoice management processes, you can more effectively identify scams and be better prepared to manage attacks. Automated management solutions can help protect your business from scams in three ways:

1. Identifying phishing attacks

Automated solutions, such as accounts payable automation, will flag any inconsistencies and updates so that your team can confirm that changes are correct. This is especially useful in the event of phishing scams.

Phishing is a common approach for scammers that takes advantage of existing business relationships. Cybercriminals will impersonate a person or service that is already known to their target, often providing updated banking information for future transactions. When the money is paid to the new bank account, the cybercriminals receive the cash while the original biller remains unpaid.

While it’s important to remain vigilant for potential attacks, doing this manually is extremely difficult.  By removing the reliance on humans, an automated solution will help prevent discrepancies going undetected for extended periods of time and pick up inconsistent changes in patterns that otherwise might be missed. This can also help to prevent any potential damage to supplier relationships.

2. Identifying and managing false invoices

Because cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their approach to scams, distinguishing fake invoices from real ones is getting harder. False invoices can be almost identical to legitimate ones, with branding and business names being replicated to lend credibility to scam emails.

The problem is that the tell-tale signs of a fake invoice can be tiny and therefore easy for staff members to miss. An automated invoicing solution can identify even the subtlest details. Small changes in website URLs and email addresses can be identified easily and flagged for manual approval, minimising the risk of paying a fake invoice.

This allows staff to compare suspicious invoices with previous ones, and contact the supplier directly via phone, to verify their new details.

3. Defending against fraudulent offers

Having detailed supplier information on file can prevent fraudulent offer scams from succeeding. In these scams, companies receive and are charged for goods that were never ordered. Using an automated management solution, you can avoid falling victim to these scams because the automated system checks all invoices against purchase orders in the system. No purchase order, no payment.

Automating supplier records lets you quickly and easily confirm orders and payments. The automated system also alerts staff to any upcoming registrations or renewals, further lowering the chance of scams succeeding and ensuring you don’t pay fake renewals outside of the scheduled period.

Adding automation to your document management processes effectively prevent scammers from exploiting businesses financially. It’s not really a question of whether your business will be targeted by cybercriminals, but when. But, by proactively implementing suitable solutions, you can minimise the risk of being targeted.

To find out more about how automating your processes with document management solutions can protect your business, contact Upstream today.