Digital payments, transferring money using a digital device or channel, are here to stay.  Because Peer-to-Peer payment (otherwise known as P2P) applications are quick and easy, they also create opportunities for cybercriminals.

How to protect your business? PNC Bank’s Head of Enterprise Fraud, Mark Kwapiszeski, encourages constant vigilance and vetting of any requests.  

“The main driver for digital payments is their speed and convenience. But, at the same time, these payments are far more vulnerable to fraud. And cybercriminals get more savvy by the day.” As a result, cybercrime is expected to soar as high as $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.

With fewer resources, small businesses are especially vulnerable. But it’s possible to outwit P2P scammers. How?

Because P2P criminals often impersonate a legitimate person or business, institute a ‘Zero Trust Policy.’ That means cross-checking payee requests. Kwapiszeski’s advice is to always be wary.

“Treat it like you would cash. How would you protect cash? Take a few seconds. Even if you know the person, does the request sound like them?”

E-mails, texts, and phone calls from unfamiliar sources are relatively easy to weed out. Yet, even when a message comes from someone familiar, Kwapiszeski recommends taking a second look.

“Bad actors are now very good at taking over the e-mail of a boss or a vendor, even using the same language and phraseology.”

Always Question. Always Confirm.

When receiving a request for payment, Kwapiszeski offers a good rule of thumb: “The more insistent the request, the more likely you’re dealing with a scammer. So be extra cautious if you receive an urgent demand for payment.”

How can you help safeguard your business?

  • Enable security settings on P2P apps. For example, an excellent precaution is two-factor authentication that requires multiple pieces of information to access your account.
  • Always lock your phone and app.
  • Confirm the billing information through a trusted communication method. Call the organization by using a recognized number.
  • Do not click links or attachments without being sure.
  • Keep personal and password information private and avoid public Wi-Fi.
  • Monitor your business account. Contact the bank immediately if anything looks wrong.
  • Create a culture of awareness. Train and empower staff members to question and confirm payment requests.

In short, strike a balance between using technology and taking commonsense measures to safeguard your identity and critical information. Simple precautions may not completely protect you from fraud, but they will certainly lower your odds of being a victim.