Staying safe from financial scams: tips for UB employees

Published February 5, 2019

Working at UB in a finance role? Follow this advice to avoid falling victim to scams targeting the funds you manage.

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Employees in financial roles are increasingly the target of social engineering scams designed to trick people using false identities or contact information. Scammers attempt to get you to divulge confidential or personal information using email, phone, fax, text or any other channel of communication you use to conduct business.

Here are some tips for employees in finance roles to help prevent fraud, theft and other misuse of financial funds and information.

Keep updated contact information for clients, and use it to verify their identity

Having a regular process for working with vendors and clients can make proper security measures easier. For each vendor or client you work with:

  • Make a record with contact information for each of your vendors or clients. Collect telephone and fax numbers, email and physical mailing addresses—more information is always better.
  • Ask any client requesting a purchase or transfer of funds to verify their identity using the contact information you have on file for them.
  • You can also establish an independent verification code ahead of time, and require it for any transactions.

The goal in any case is to be certain that the person you’re communicating with is who they say they are. 

Confirm any account changes independently

If someone is asking you to update a client’s information, especially bank account information, they could be seeking to divert funds by having them transferred into an unauthorized account.

It is especially important to verify someone’s identity when they request changes to the client details you have on file. Confirm the request by contacting the client on another of their verified communication channels, and request to speak with someone else to confirm the request. 

When in doubt, ask!

A recent scam targeted UB employees by impersonating their supervisors and asking them to make fraudulent purchases. In these emails, the supervisor usually claims they are busy and away from their computer, and asks the employee to make a purchase on their behalf.

Don’t hesitate to confirm any requests involving funds or purchasing that come from leadership, including your direct supervisor. Either ask them in-person about it, or ask another member of leadership.

This is especially important if you received instructions over email, and the sender seemed hurried or indicated that the request was urgent.

Stay vigilant

A single successful attempt at fraud could lead to catastrophic losses of thousands of dollars. Stay updated about the latest known scams targeting UB employees—you can see examples of fraudulent messages, and get more tips for staying safe, at buffalo.edu/ubit/safe.