Savvy companies are using technology and carefully designed controls to curb payments fraud. The use of electronic payment methods and a range of fraud mitigation strategies have coincided with a drop in payments fraud over the last year, according to a global survey of companies conducted by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).

Incidents of fraud decreased for the third straight year while electronic payments are increasing. Although corporate use of checks has declined, checks remain by far the most common method reported, according to the survey. Eight-seven per cent of organizations that reported attempted or actual payments fraud cited checks as a fraud vehicle.

The effectiveness of fraud detection and controls methods was seen in the survey, as 73% of organizations that experienced at least one payments fraud attempt did not suffer actual losses from the attempt. The controls that companies use are varied and numerous.

To defend against attacks companies are performing daily reconciliations, reviewing and strengthening internal procedures and ensuring that disaster recovery plans include the ability to continue with strong controls.

Organizations using ACH as a payment alternative found reconciling accounts daily to identify and return unauthorized ACH debits, blocking all ACH debits except on a single account set up with an ACH debit filter or ACH positive pay and blocking ACH debits on all accounts effective measures against fraud.