Bank News, Trends & Tips

First County Bank Offers Tips To Small Businesses For Combating Fraud

Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting small businesses to transfer funds from accounts and steal private information, a fraud referred to as “corporate account takeover.”  Criminals use spoofed emails, malicious software and online social networks to obtain login credentials to businesses’ accounts, which they then use to make illicit transactions.

First County Bank is hosting two seminars for business owners discussing the importance of fraud prevention and detection called “Prevention is a State-of-Mind.”  The first session is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at its branch located at 469 Westport Ave. in Norwalk.  The second session is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at its 1042 High Ridge Rd. branch in Stamford.  Seating is limited for these seminars.  Those interested in attending should reserve a seat by contacting Anne Hardy at 203.462.4249 or email

“Small businesses are a growing target for account takeover,” said John Bonora, first vice president, director of operational risk and compliance at First County Bank.  Bonora and Peter Rugen, senior vice president, information security officer at First County Bank, will present at both seminars.

Combating account takeover is a shared responsibility between businesses and financial institutions.  Bankers can explain the safeguards small businesses need and the numerous programs available that help ensure fund transfers, payroll requests and withdrawals are legitimate and accurate.  Employees should be trained about safe Internet use and the warning signs of this fraud, as they are the first line of defense.

“Being proactive in preventing account takeover and other types of fraud, while requiring consistent effort and attention, is far easier than dealing with the aftermath of a successful fraud attempt,” added Rugen.

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, First County Bank offers small businesses these tips to help prevent account takeover:

  • Protect your online environment.  It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your physical location.  Do not use unprotected Internet connections.  Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated anti-virus and anti-spyware protection on your computers.  Change passwords from the default to something complex, including at point-of-sale terminals.
  • Partner with your bank for payment authentication.  Talk to your banker about services that offer call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes, batch limits and other tools that help protect you from unauthorized transactions.
  • Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly.  Put your employees on alert. Look out for strange network activity, do not open suspicious emails and never share account information.  If you suspect a problem, disconnect the compromised computer from your network and contact your banker.  Keep records of what happened.
  • Understand your responsibilities and liabilities.  The account agreement with your financial institution will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business.  It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement.  If you don’t, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover.  Talk to your banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities.


Read about National Cyber Security Awareness Month at




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