Stopping Fraud from the Inside Out

keyboard with at sign symbol and locks
John Buzzard Photo
Industry Fraud Specialist
CO-OP Financial Services

2 minutes

Cultivate a culture that both ‘thinks before it clicks’ and is accountable to strict security policies.

Sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services

Research conducted by Clearswift shows that 42 percent of all data breaches are caused by internal security lapses. That’s a staggering percentage considering it only takes one data breach to impact the entire customer base of a business, as was the case with the recent Marriott breach.

Internal security breaches can happen in a number of ways, but more often than not they occur when an employee clicks on or opens a suspicious email. And hackers are getting more sophisticated in their approaches. A Tech Republic study found that emails impersonating someone familiar to the recipient were up a staggering 50 percent in one quarter alone.

While we must all be vigilant about stopping fraud, it’s particularly important for credit union employees because they work hands-on with so much member data. How can credit unions ensure their systems and data are secure when all it takes is one bad e-mail click or attachment to put it all at risk?

Ultimately, it’s up to credit union leadership to take the time to educate employees well on e-mail fraud—and cultivate a culture that both “thinks before it clicks” and is accountable for adhering to strict security policies.

A strategy to employ is to test your workforce with simulated phishing scams to see how employees respond. In these situations, you’re looking to see not only who clicks but who reports incidents to your IT department. Reinforcing the importance of reporting e-mail scams is key to stopping them at an enterprise level. 

Another strategy is to hold regular in-person or virtual sessions to teach best practices for spotting fraud. The face of fraud is ever-changing, which is why keeping employees apprised of the latest phishing scams, malware and impersonation attacks is so important. At CO-OP Financial Services, we have built a community called FraudBuzz, designed to enable credit unions to share their stories on fraud with their industry peers. The more invested employees are in the fight against fraud, the better your credit union’s defenses will be. 

We are all in this together. Keeping an open dialogue and sharing tips and best practices is the best way to stop fraud from the inside out.

John Buzzard is industry fraud specialist with CUES Supplier member CO-OP Financial Services, Rancho Cucamonga, California.

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