Over 70% of US firms were victims of attempted or actual payments fraud in 2008, according to a survey from the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).
The JP Morgan Treasury Services sponsored survey of 629 corporate treasury and finance professionals found that large organisations were more likely to have experienced payments fraud.
A massive 80% of firms with annual revenues over $1 billion were victims of payments fraud in 2008 compared with 63% of organisations that had revenues of under $1 billion.
Nearly a third of survey respondents report that incidents of fraud increased in 2008 compared to 2007. Further, almost 40% experienced increased fraud activity during the second half of 2008 as economic conditions worsened in the US.
Nearly nine out of ten organisations affected in 2008 were victims of cheque fraud. ACH debit affected 28%, consumer credit or debit cards, 18%, corporate/commercial cards, 14%, ACH credits, seven per cent, and wire transfers, six per cent.
Around two thirds of companies that were victims of actual or attempted payments fraud in 2008 experienced no financial loss, and among those that did, the typical amount was a modest $15,200.
Nasreen Quibria, director of payments, AFP, says: "The fraud attacks on payment activities have occurred at a greater frequency than we've seen in the past. Now, the vulnerability of all payment methods - especially cheques - demands a range of fraud-fighting tools and the vigilance of financial and treasury professionals responsible for protecting organizations' assets."
To combat payments fraud, firms are turning to a number of measures offered through their banks. Over 80% are using positive pay or reverse positive pay, 71% ACH debit blocks, 55% ACH debit filters, 50% payee positive pay and 34% "post no cheques" restriction on depository accounts.
Internal business processes used include stopping the provision of payment instructions by phone or fax, employed by 86%, increasing the use of electronic payments for b2c and b2b transactions, 82%, and reducing the number of bank accounts, 82%.