SCORE Memphis

You couldn’t have direct deposit or online banking without the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network, the electronic system that handles millions of financial transactions in the United States every day. Unfortunately, online banking through the ACH network has generated a new cyber crime—ACH fraud, which is similar to good old-fashioned check fraud.

Payroll, which makes abundant use of the ACH network for direct deposits and other transactions, is particularly vulnerable to ACH fraud. And according to the FBI, this fraud is growing, with new victims and cases opened every week.

The new identity theft

ACH fraud exploits valid online banking credentials. It usually begins when a company employee accesses a bank’s online cash management system to initiate ACH files for direct deposit. Typically, this employee receives a “spear phishing” email that contains an infected attachment or directs her to an infected website.

Once the email recipient opens the attachment or…

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