Payment fraud is rising dramatically and becoming increasingly sophisticated. Businesses are prime targets for fraud because they often have a higher number of transactions and larger transaction amounts.
Fortunately, while fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated, so are the banking tools we have available to keep them at bay. Crown Bank offers three Positive Pay modules: Pro-Chex, which identifies fraudulent checks; Pro-Tech, which flags fraudulent ACH/debit transactions; and a credit-side module called Pro-Tech CR, which identifies suspicious credit entries as a precursor to initiating future fraudulent debits.
Here’s a look at how Pro-Chex works and how easy it is for businesses to use.
How Pro-Chex Works
For many businesses, making sure each check posted to your account is legitimate requires manually reviewing each and every transaction. Pro-Chex offers a way for customers to determine if a fraudulent item, such as an altered or fake check, was presented for payment without manually reviewing each payment.
When a business uses Pro-Chex, potentially fraudulent items are flagged within the system and then the business has an opportunity to review only flagged items and notify their financial institution if further investigation is necessary. Pro-Chex automates these tasks and gives customers the tools to stop fraud before it happens.
Using Pro-Chex, a customer simply uploads the amount, check number and payee of each check that is written. Pro-Chex then verifies each check presented for payment against the information provided by the customer. If the dollar amount, check number or payee do not align with the information provided, Pro-Chex sends an alert via email, so the customer can decide whether to pay or reject a check before it clears. Checks that match the information uploaded using Pro-Chex will automatically be paid, freeing customers from manually having to examine each check presented.
The Power of Pro-Chex for Businesses
While Pro-Chex’s simplicity and robust protection are impressive, it is natural for business owners to ask whether their accounts are really at risk and whether Pro-Chex will add value. The short answer is that the problem of fraudulent payments are growing rapidly, and Pro-Chex is invaluable in detecting and stopping fraud quickly.
Although there are many electronic payment options for businesses, many companies still rely on checks as their primary form of payment. According to a February 2023 alert issued by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), business checks are targeted by criminals because they know “business accounts are often well-funded, and it may take longer for the victim to notice the fraud.”
Check fraud has skyrocketed because criminal enterprises have developed sophisticated schemes to steal checks from the mail system. According to FinCEN, reports of suspected check fraud nearly doubled from 2021 to 2022, and 2023 will likely see another increase. The problem is compounded by the internet having made trafficking stolen checks and account information both easy and lucrative.
Check fraud schemes vary, but typically, checks that are stolen from the mail are chemically “washed” to remove the ink, which allows criminals to replace payee information with fraudulent identities. According to FinCEN, “illicit actors often increase the dollar amount of the check, sometimes by hundreds or thousands of dollars.” In addition, FinCEN notes that cybercriminals also use the dark web and encrypted messaging apps to sell counterfeit checks containing the victim’s account information in exchange for virtual currency.
The problem is widespread
Sixty-three percent of participants in a 2023 Association for Financial Professionals Payment Fraud and Control Survey reported having been victims of an attempted or successful check fraud scheme within the past year. Of those who were the victim of a successful fraud, 44 percent recovered absolutely nothing.
Pro-Chex can help significantly reduce this risk. Pro-Chex spots counterfeit checks by comparing the details of each check presented for payment to the details of legitimate checks provided by business customers. By alerting customers to suspicious items, it empowers customers to stop check fraud before they become a victim. Pro-Chex makes it simple to protect against fraud so that you can focus on serving your customers.
A Crown Bank Customer’s Pro-Chex Success Story
Recently, a Crown Bank business client mailed a check to a vendor, but the vendor never received it. A few days later, the client received an email alert from Pro-Chex. Known bank fraudsters had stolen the check out of the mail, changed the amount and payee, and attempted to cash it.
Pro-Chex uncovered that the payee name and amount did not match the information uploaded to Pro-Chex. They immediately alerted the client. From there, the client simply went online, rejected the check and stopped the fraud before it impacted their accounts.
When Crown Bank customers start using Pay-Chex, we often hear them say they wish they would have started using it years ago. We love hearing stories like this where our hardworking business customers have the fraud protection they need and deserve.
How To Get Started With Pro-Chex
If you’re ready to get started setting up Pro-Chex for your Crown Bank business account, reach out to your commercial banker or contact either Chad Bolen or Chris Garrison. Our team is excited to sit down with you and put Pro-Chex to work guarding your business account. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.