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Security & Privacy Center

Corporate Account Takeover

Corporate Account Takeover is a form of corporate identity theft where a business’ online credentials are stolen by malware. Criminal entities can then initiate fraudulent banking activity. Corporate Account Takeover involves compromised identity credentials and is not about compromises to the wire system or ACH Network. ACH fraud and wire fraud, terms mistakenly used to describe this type of criminal activity, are a misnomer. The ACH Network is safe and secure.

To obtain access to financial accounts, cyber criminals target employees– often senior executives or accounting and HR personnel- and business partners and cause the targeted individual to spread malicious software (or "malware") which in turn steals their personal information and log-in credentials.

Once the account is compromised, the cyber criminal is able to electronically steal money from business accounts. Cyber criminals also use various attack methods to exploit check archiving and verification services that enable them to issue counterfeit checks, impersonate the customer over the phone to arrange funds transfers, mimic legitimate communication from the financial institution to verify transactions, create unauthorized wire transfers and ACH payments, or initiate other changes to the account.

In addition to targeting account information, cyber criminals also seek to gain customer lists and/or proprietary information - often through the spread of malware - that can also cause indirect losses and reputational damage to a business.

For more one Corporate Account Takeover check out any of the following:

Cyber Security Survival Guide
Small Business Guide to Corporate Account Takeover
10 Cybersecurity Strategies for Small Businesses

Additional Resources

Federal Internet Crime Complaint Center

Better Business Bureau

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