Valley First

Fraud - Know Your Accounts

Protecting your small business from fraud—Know Your Accounts

Kevin Haarhoff—Corporate Security Officer

Fraud. It’s something that small business owners rarely think about until they are faced with the aftermath of becoming a victim, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Every business, regardless of size, can and should take a proactive approach to protecting themselves and their operations from fraud.

Know your accounts
It’s surprising how many small business owners leave account management to someone else. The key to avoiding fraud comes down to being familiar with your accounts and account activity. Small business owners should:

  • Review account statements regularly. Some businesses may employ a bookkeeper to do this, but small business owners should make sure they monitor employee access on the account. Most financial institutions allow 30 days after monthly statements are issued to dispute a transaction. Therefore, knowing what is happening in your accounts can save you from becoming a victim of fraud.
  • As a best practice, segregate financial duties—one person writes a cheque and another signs it. This narrows the gap for any single employee to take advantage of access to company accounts.
  • Protect online account passwords and ensure they are not easy to guess. Using a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numerals and symbols is a best practice when creating passwords.
  • Any information to do with clients or customers should be protected and only disclosed to trusted people who need the information for legitimate reasons.

Kevin Haarhoff is a Corporate Security Officer for Valley First. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice from the University of the Fraser Valley and a Forensic Investigation—Economic Crime certificate from BCIT.


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