Wire Transfer Scams
While wire transfers are a secure way to transfer funds, they can also be a target for scammers. Protect yourself or your business.
Reporting Wire Transfer Scams
- If you believe you've been a victim of a wire transfer scam, call 800-233-2328 and follow the prompts to speak with someone in our fraud department.
- Business members should report any suspicious activity or questionable transactions to us immediately at 800-704-8080.
Wire transfers are a fast and convenient option for significant transactions, like buying a home or car or for a business disbursement, as long as you are sure you're sending the money to a legitimate party.
How Wire Transfer Scams Happen
Because wire transfer payments are near-immediate – and usually irreversible – they frequently attract criminals who may use social engineering scams to trick you into sending them money, or to gain access to your account to wire your money to themselves. Scammers may use hacked or fake email messages to contact your employees and impersonate leadership requesting an urgent wire transfer.
What You Can Do
Follow these steps carefully before addressing a wire transfer:
- Confirm the recipient's identity. Make sure the person or company you're sending money to is a trusted entity – ideally, someone you've met in person, or spoken to over the phone at a verified phone number. Never wire money to a stranger.
- Approach payment requests with caution. If you're a business owner, train your employees to be cautious of suspicious emails or links they receive and to scrutinize payment requests or changes before acting.
- Verify wiring instructions are correct. To ensure wire instructions are from a trusted source, confirm it with the recipient directly, either in person or over the phone, using contact information that is known and reliable. Scammers can hack legitimate emails and alter information, redirecting the funds to their own bank account and leaving you with no recourse.
- Double- and triple-check your work. When wiring money, getting details correct is critical. Make sure you've entered the recipient's name and account number accurately. Any error could send the money to the wrong account or cause a costly delay.
Best Payment Protection Practices for Businesses
Scammers may try to trick employees into sending wire transfers for fraudulent payments. Protect your business from wire scams and other payment scams with these accounts payable best practices:
- Use a unique password for your Business Online Banking access – one you've never used before and won't use in other systems.
- Limit users' access to online wires to only those individuals who need to send or approve wires. Then establish appropriate controls, such as tailored limits.
- Set up your system administrator as a Business Online Banking user and log in with the user ID, limiting a potential fraudster's ability to make administrative changes.
- Implement a verification process of calling the phone number on file for new payment requests or for making changes to existing payment instructions.
- Establish a separate account – distinct from your operating funds – to be used for electronic purposes, such as sending or receiving wire transfers.
- Create and implement a policy that prohibits company computers from accessing unauthorized websites, such as social media sites.
- Discourage the use of public Wi-Fi for conducting business banking activities.
- Check the activity on your business accounts throughout the day and report any questionable transactions immediately.