RPC CPAs + Consultants, LLP (RPC) has merged with the nationally recognized accounting firm of Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC (CRI) and our offices will now operate under the name of Carr, Riggs & Ingram.
We will continue our tradition of community support and delivering quality audit, accounting, tax, and consulting services - now with enhanced service capabilities available from a regional firm that is one of the Top 20 firms in the U.S. For more informaiton regarding CRI's 50+ office locations, more than 1,800 professionals, or industry and service specializations, visit our new firm's website at www.CRIcpa.com.
As you probably know, there are criminals constantly thinking of ways to steal your money. One of the fastest growing trends in this area is fraudulent wire transfers. What happens here is a criminal will send a request that resembles a legitimate request from your bank, typically indicating a request from a vendor for a payment, or stating a transfer from one account to another is necessary. A few government agencies in New Mexico have even been hit with this scheme and have lost thousands of dollars.
These impersonators are getting very good at fabricating emails that look official. It is very important that all your employees, especially owners and controllers, pay close attention to any emails that are not quite right. Sometimes the criminals will go so far as to hack your system to begin with to gather real data to work with during the scheme.
A basic protection is to never reply to, click on, or even open any strange email. In addition, you want to make sure that the identified party (i.e. vendor or employee) is the individual that is actually requesting the wire transfer. These schemes are so prolific and effective that some insurance companies are requiring a “Call Back Obligation” which essentially means that BEFORE a wire transfer or check of a certain size is sent an agreed protocol is followed. An example of that protocol is as follows:
This process may be a pain, but it is the simplest way of avoiding this form of theft and the related consequences. It is clearly not fool-proof, but it will likely prevent a majority of these attacks and show the insurance company that you made a good faith attempt to avoid this issue.
It’s always a good idea to periodically review your controls to see which ones are old and outdated. Often a CPA or other professional advisor is instrumental in this exercise as a way of assisting you in instituting best practices. Feel free to give any of our offices a call to discuss ways we may be of assistance to you.
Ray Roberts, CPA, CM&AA