Payment Fraud Activity Declines in 2021


According to AFP’s 2022 Payment Fraud and Control Survey, 71% of organizations reported being victims of payment fraud activity in 2021, down from the 81% reported in 2019 and the lowest percentage recorded since 2014.

Among respondents who reported an increase in payment fraud in their organization, 47% do not believe remote work has contributed to the increase. However, nearly a third (32%) believe that remote working has played a role in the rise of payment fraud in their business.

According to the survey, check fraud activity was unchanged in 2021 from 2020 at 66%, while the share of respondents reporting payment fraud via ACH debits increased by four percentage points to 37. %. Checks and ACH debits are the most susceptible channels for payment fraud, while electronic fraud activity has continued its steady decline from 48% in 2017 to 32% in 2021.

An encouraging finding from the survey was the noticeable decrease in business email compromise (BEC) in 2021 compared to 2020. Sixty-eight percent of organizations were targeted by email scams in 2021, a decrease of 8 percentage points from 2020. and ACH credits are both key targets for email scams, with each of these payment methods targeting 41% of organizations in 2021.

“While payment fraud remains a huge challenge for organizations, the decreases we are seeing in almost every area are a clear signal of the efforts of our colleagues and business leaders to limit fraudulent payment activity resulting from criminal attempts. “, Jim Kaitz, president and chief executive of AFP, said. “That said, we must remain vigilant in our pursuit of education, training and innovation to stay ahead of our sophisticated adversaries.”

“It is encouraging to see the positive outcome of so many businesses continuing to proactively combat payment fraud in their organizations,” said Sue Dean, head of payments solutions for JP Morgan’s commercial banking business. “While the increased shift to digital payments and processes over the past two years may present more opportunities for fraudulent attacks, it is clear that we are moving in the right direction together.”

Other Survey Highlights

  • Two-thirds of organizations validate payment recipient information, either through their provider/bank (36%) or using an external service (30%).
  • Accounts Payable services continue to be the most susceptible service to BEC, with more than half (58%) of survey respondents indicating that their services have been compromised by email scams.

Over 550 treasury and finance professionals responded to the survey.


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