Fraud Prevention Center

An Integrated Approach to Prevention

Fraud prevention should be an integral part of every company’s business strategy. It’s not just about stopping the bad guys; it’s about enabling your business to grow and evolve without unwanted — and costly — interruptions. Silicon Valley Bank offers preventive tools, services and guidance to help you mitigate your risk of fraud.
Structure Accounts to Minimize Risk

Segregate and reconcile accounts to help safeguard your business

Optimize Company Operations

Tips for lowering risk of internal fraud

Consumer Best Practices

Steps you can take to help protect yourself and your family

Explore fraud prevention insights

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Structure accounts to minimize risk

Segregate and reconcile accounts to help safeguard your business

Protect your business assets by strategically structuring your company banking accounts to minimize the risk of fraud and theft. Preventative measures and ongoing monitoring of account activity allow you to identify fraudulent activity before it’s too late. Our experienced team can help minimize your risk of fraud by working with you to establish sound practices including account segregation and daily account monitoring.

Segregate accounts to reduce fraud

A treasury best practice to minimize fraud is segregating payment and transaction activities across multiple accounts. By designating separate bank accounts for payments to vendors and receipts from customers, for example, you avoid disruption to your revenue stream in the event your payments account is compromised. Segregation also helps limit accounts to discrete company functions, allowing you to limit the number of employees with access to any one account, and making suspicious transactions easier to identify.

Some best practices for account segregation include: 

  • Segregate accounts by account type (payables and receivables).
  • Segregate accounts by payment method (ACH, check, wire).
  • Segregate accounts by purpose or function (payroll, operations).
  • Set appropriate permissions or entitlements on accounts.

Reconcile accounts to maximize oversight

Account review and formal reconciliation can help streamline operations and reduce your exposure to errors and check fraud. Best practice recommends that you monitor and review accounts daily through either a manual process or an automated solution. At a minimum, monthly reconciliations are recommended to limit irregularities and ensure accounts are kept current.

The following are additional account best practices: 

  • Move excess cash from operating accounts to investment accounts, minimizing the amount of cash subject to payments fraud.
  • Use positive pay account services such as Fraud Control Services to secure check payments.
  • Outsource check printing and institute proper check stock controls.
  • Enable alerts of outgoing account transactions.

Optimize company operations

Tips for lowering risk of internal fraud

Internal processes and controls form the backbone of a secure organization, and establishing them early can ensure your company accelerates and grows with as little friction as possible. Building and communicating companywide policies and best practices can lower your risk of internal fraud, stolen funds or intellectual property, and loss of data from compromised systems.

 

Segregation of duties

When you involve several people in the lifespan of a single transaction, from initiation to settlement and reporting, you minimize your risk of fraud or human error. Basically, you ensure that no single person is in a position to both commit and conceal fraud or errors. Even a small company should assign different individuals to perform the front- and back-office processes for a given transaction.

Some best practices for segregation of duties include: 

  • Formalize internal processes to ensure appropriate checks and balances.
  • Separate roles for initiation and approval of payments.
  • Separate accounting team.
  • Set up discrete account and security access.

Accounts payable controls

To minimize fraud, we recommend setting up strong employee controls and vendor master file access policies in accounts payable. Ensuring your employees follow established practices minimizes the risk that your company loses funds in imposter or accounts payable fraud events.

The following are additional accounts payable best practices: 

  • Employ out-of-band authentication to secure account access and payments approvals.
  • Limit who can add new vendors or edit the master vendor file.
  • Segregate duties so one person isn’t handling billing, payment processing and check signing.
  • Require a W-9 form from every vendor before their first invoice is paid.