Downturn triggers 'assault' on payments

30 March 2009

Last year's deteriorating economic conditions led to a surge in financial deceptions, with over 70 percent of firms questioned for a new US survey saying they experienced actual or attempted payment fraud during 2008.

The poll of 629 corporate treasury and finance professionals by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) found that 80 per cent of organizations with annual revenues of $1 billion or more fell victim to payment fraud last year, compared to 63 percent of firms with revenues under $1 billion.

Furthermore, almost 40 percent of companies said fraud activity increased during the second half of 2008 as the financial crisis deepened in the US. The average loss from fraud incidents was $15,200.

Check fraud accounted for 91 percent of actual or attempted payment frauds last year. Some 82 percent of companies said they planned to tackle the problem by increasing their use of electronic payments for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions.

AFP director of payments Nasreen Quibria said "The vulnerability of all payment methods ... demands a range of fraud-fighting tools and the vigilance of financial and treasury professionals responsible for protecting organizations' assets."
UK figures from Apacs put check fraud losses at £41.9 million in 2008.

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