Can the biggest scams be prevented?
Small and micro businesses lost $13.7 million to scams in 2022.
This is a 95% increase compared to the previous year, according to data from Scamwatch. The biggest contributor to these losses were payment redirection scams, also known as business email compromise. These scams involve a hacker intercepting emails between a business and a supplier or customer, then redirecting the payment to their own account.
Scams are a growing threat to Australian businesses, with losses increasing by 73% in 2022, totalling $23.2 million. Investment scams were the highest loss category ($1.5 billion), followed by remote access scams ($229 million) and payment redirection scams ($224 million), according to the latest Targeting Scams report.
The rise of scams is a major concern for bookkeepers and accountants, who have a responsibility to protect their clients' financial data and ensure their accounts are accurate. Fortunately, there are tools and software available that can help protect against scams and fraud.
We are one such tool! Our platform uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify potential errors, omissions, and anomalies in financial data. XBert can help detect potential fraud and prompt users to investigate further, potentially preventing losses due to scams.
Here are some examples of how XBert can help bookkeepers and accountants protect against scams:
Fraud detection: XBert uses algorithms to analyse financial data and identify unusual transactions, such as unexpected expenses or payments to unfamiliar vendors. These features can alert users to potential scams and prompt them to investigate further.
Bank reconciliation: XBert makes bank reconciliation a breeze, ensuring that all transactions in a company's financial records match up with the corresponding transactions in their bank account. This process can help identify discrepancies or fraudulent transactions.
Automated alerts:XBert includes automated alerts that can notify users of potential fraud or other issues. For example, we can alert you when a large payment is made or when a transaction falls outside of normal spending patterns, when it appears a fraudulent ABN is used to get you to pay GST, when lock dates change on accounting files or if an accounting firm employee has the same bank account as a client's supplier.
Payroll protection: XBert analyses payroll data and identifies any inconsistencies or anomalies in employee information, such as changes to bank account numbers, changes to salary amounts, or changes to hours worked. These anomalies are checked, flagged and highlighted continuously, alerting businesses to areas of their payroll process that may be vulnerable to fraud.
Detailed Reporting and Analytics: XBert's analytics provide businesses with the ability to spot trends, gain oversight, see their business health status and data quality scores. By analyzing financial data, XBert can identify trends in spending, revenue, and other key metrics, giving businesses valuable insights into their financial performance. With detailed reporting, businesses and their advisors can gain oversight into their finances, spot potential fraud or scams enabling them to identify potential issues and take action to address them.
Andrea Rowe of Bookkeeping HQ, shared how we helped her detect potential fraud for one of her clients:
"I saw an anomaly in the debtor days on one of my client's files. They were well above the industry average and I knew something was off. After investigating further, we found a staff member had been siphoning funds. We were able to rectify the situation before it caused any major damage to the business."
Stephanie Crawford of On The Spot Accounts, considers us a valuable tool in keeping her clients' financial data secure:
"I love XBert's security features, especially two-factor authentication. It gives me peace of mind knowing that my clients' data is secure and protected."
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself and Your Clients?
The best way to prevent scams is to stay informed and take proactive steps to protect yourself and your clients. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Educate yourself and your clients: Stay informed about the latest scams targeting your industry and educate your clients on how to identify and avoid them. Encourage them to be wary of any requests for payment or sensitive information, especially if they come from an unfamiliar source or seem too good to be true.
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Use XBert: XBert can help you stay on top of your clients' finances and identify any suspicious activity before it becomes a problem. With AI-powered fraud detection and risk management tools, XBert can help you identify payment anomalies, unusual transaction patterns, and other signs of potential fraud. Plus, it integrates with your existing accounting software, so you can easily access all of your clients' financial data in one place.
Set up two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring a second form of authentication, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password. Make sure you and your clients have two-factor authentication enabled for all of your financial accounts and other sensitive online services.
Use secure passwords: Strong passwords are essential for protecting your accounts from hackers. Make sure you and your clients use strong, unique passwords for each account, and consider using a password manager to generate and store them securely.
Stay vigilant: Always be on the lookout for signs of potential fraud, such as unexpected emails or phone calls, unusual transactions, or suspicious activity in your clients' accounts. If you suspect that you or your clients may have been targeted by a scam, report it immediately to the relevant authorities, such as Scamwatch or the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
Scams targeting businesses are on the rise, and bookkeepers and accountants are particularly vulnerable. However, with the right tools and strategies, you can protect yourself and your clients from the devastating financial and emotional impacts of fraud.
Take the first step towards protecting yourself and your clients from scams by signing up for XBert today.
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Or if you’re already a user, make sure you join our XBert Discussion Group on Facebook so you can stay up to date on all our latest features and benefits and learn from industry professionals on the best ways to keep yourself and your clients safe.