ACH fraud is the theft of funds through the automated clearinghouse’s financial transaction network. The ACH network acts as the central clearing facility for all electronic funds transfer (EFT) transactions in the United States, representing a crucial link in the national banking system. Payments linger in the ACH network pending authorization of their final bank destination.
Here are some examples of ACH fraud:
- The criminal accesses the credentials of a business customer, generates an ACH file on behalf of the sender, and quickly withdraws funds before the victim finds out about the fraud.
- The criminal accesses the credentials of a retail customer and sets up as an automatic bill payment recipient.
- In an insider threat scenario, an employee of the target company or a bank modifies the ACH files to steal money.
- In a variation of check kiting – a scam in which funds are juggled between bank accounts at separate banks – a criminal takes advantage of the delay in transactions.
- In a spear phishing scam, an employee with authorization for ACH transactions receives an email that leads them to an infected site, which installs a keylogger to access credentials. The thief can then impersonate the authorized representative of the company and withdraw funds.
To protect against ACH fraud, the FBI recommends that you closely monitor account balances and reconcile the account frequently, use strong passwords and change them often, restrict access to any computer you use for ACH transactions and to ensure that firewalls and anti-virus software are in place. nowadays.
This was last updated in August 2012
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