Citizens Union Bank — with its $572 million in assets — has struck an agreement with technology provider ACH Alert to implement the patented Bio-Wire fraud protection solution for business customers who originate online wire transfers. This proactive move by CUB is intended to thwart would-be cybercriminals who are committing wire fraud nationwide.
“CUB is investing in the latest and greatest technologies to protect the assets of our customers,” said Kim Dodson, senior vice president of treasury services at CUB. “Wire transfer fraud is increasing by leaps and bounds. Criminals are very sophisticated in business email compromise.”
Voice recognition offers an added layer of protection
Bio-Wire uses voice biometric identity verification of clients, which adds another layer of protection against wire fraud. When a client calls a specific phone number, the software uses voice recognition to continue or stop the wire transaction. Voice recognition provides a higher level of fraud prevention than fingerprint scanners and facial recognition software.
“Wire transfers have finality of payment,” Dodson explained. “It’s almost impossible to stop the fraud once it’s in motion.”
Decision comes in response to FBI alerts
A recent public service announcement distributed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation states that business email compromise (BEC) authorizing wire transfers has become a $3.1 billion scam nationwide. “The BEC scam continues to grow, evolve and target businesses of all sizes,” the June 14 FBI report states. “Since January 2015, there has been a 1,300 percent increase in identified exposed losses.”
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has also distributed alerts warning financial institutions and businesses to be on the lookout for fake emails authorizing wire transfers.
“Crooks like their victims to use wire transfers because the money moves fast and they can take the money and run before the victim discovers the truth,” explained Michael Bernardo, manager of the FDIC’s Cyber Fraud and Financial Crimes Section, in an FDIC alert. “Con artists also know that the transaction is difficult to reverse, and the money is difficult to get back. That’s why they will use any tactic to convince people to wire money to a complete stranger.”
Dodson said CUB has experienced attempted BEC wire fraud, but the bank intervened and stopped it. “It has happened here and fortunately we caught it and knew it was fraudulent,” she said.
How businesses can become exposed to wire fraud
Dodson explained that the fraud is carried out by cybercriminals who gain illegal access to a company’s email system. For example, a criminal writes a fake email from the CEO to the CFO stating that there has been a change of plans with a transaction. The email then authorizes an immediate wire transfer of a large sum of money to a specified account number. Typically, the subject line reads something like, “Transfer Funds Now.”
By selecting and implementing Bio-Wire, an automated wire transfer protocol, CUB is protecting its account holders by enabling them to stop wire fraud in real time. Bio-Wire systematically analyzes wire transfers and alerts the customer if a pre-defined rule set is violated. Customers respond by making a call to a 24/7 automated system and they are authenticated by using voice biometric technology.
CUB is committed to technology that helps safeguard assets
“CUB is committed to working hand-in-hand with our clients to keep their accounts safe,” Dodson said. “Security of funds is paramount. We will always pursue the most sophisticated technology on behalf of our clients. They expect it, and so do we.”
Businesses that are interested in learning more about how CUB works to protect financial assets can call Kim Dodson at (502) 643-1476.