The 2015 True Cost of Fraud survey by Lexus Nexus estimates that every $100 of fraud actually costs businesses $223.* So how can you prevent fraud from costing your business its reputation and money? Use a service like Merchants Bank’s Positive Pay to detect fraud on a daily basis.
What is Positive Pay?
Positive Pay is a service that helps you detect fraudulent checks that are presented on your account. Only checks that match a pre-approved list, which you provide to the bank, are automatically paid. All other checks presented for payment must receive authorization or may be rejected by you.
How does it work?
Each day, you provide the bank with an electronic inventory of the checks you have issued. When the checks presented on your account each day are processed, Positive Pay matches your account number, check number and dollar amount of each check presented for payment against a list of checks previously authorized and issued by your business. All three components of the check must match exactly. When a check is reviewed that isn’t a match in the file, it becomes an “exception item”. The business reviews the image and can instruct the bank to pay or return the check.
Why should my business use it?
With Positive Pay, you can essentially eliminate the possibility of fraudulent checks being posted to your business account. Plus, in addition to the money you’ll save by preventing fraud, there is no need to purchase additional equipment to use Positive Pay.
How can I start using Positive Pay?
Contact one of our Cash Management specialists today.
It’s that time of year — tax time. It’s also a great time to get up to speed on tax-related scams. Here are two ways tax scammers might target you and what you can do about it:
Tax Identity Theft
This kind of identity theft happens when someone files a fake tax return using your personal information — like your Social Security number — to get a tax refund. Tax identity theft also happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a job. You find out about it when you get a letter from the IRS saying:
- More than one tax return was filed in your name, or
- IRS records show wages from an employer you don’t know
If you get a letter like this, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. You can find more about tax identity theft at ftc.gov/taxidtheft and irs.gov/identitytheft.
IRS Imposter Scams
This time scammers aren’t pretending to be you — they’re posing as the IRS. They call you up saying you owe taxes, and threaten to arrest you if you don’t pay right away. They might know all or part of your Social Security number, and they can rig caller ID to make it look like the call is coming from Washington, DC – when it could be coming from anywhere. Leaving you no time to think, they tell you to put the money on a prepaid debit card and tell them the card number right away.
The real IRS won’t ask you to pay with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, and won’t ask for a credit card number over the phone. When the IRS contacts people about unpaid taxes, they usually do it by mail. You can report IRS imposter scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) online or at 800-366-4484, and to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
IdentityTheft.gov is the federal government’s one-stop resource to help you report and recover from identity theft. You can report identity theft, get step-by-step advice, sample letters, and your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit. These resources will help you fix problems caused by the identity theft.