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Fraud Schemes Targeting Bookkeepers and Ways to Prevent Them

The incidences of fraud on businesses across the globe are on the rise as fraudsters and scammers are constantly devising means to perpetuate their fraudulent activities. Their common fraud targets on companies are the companies' bookkeepers such as the accountants, payroll specialists, and other finance members because they occupy sensitive positions and deal with the company's financial data. A successfully carried out fraud on an organization usually results in substantial financial loss of the business. Thus, bookkeepers must be aware of the fraud schemes that they are exposed to in their duties and the ways these frauds can be prevented.

Fraud and Scams bookkeepers may encounter in the course of their duties

Business Email Compromise

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is another name for Email Account Compromise. This fraud involves hacking, spoofing, or impersonating a business email address that appears to originate from a well-recognized source and making a legitimate request. This happens when fraudsters send an email posing to be the chief executive of the company to the accountant or any member of the finance team requesting sensitive information such as the bank account code or requesting a wire transfer of an amount of money. When there is a Business Email Compromise, the fraudsters' requests are usually tricky to differentiate because they appear like perfect requests.


This is when the fraudster undertakes activities that seek to break into the company's computer security system and networks to access the company's sensitive financial data. Fraudsters usually use phishing scams and spam emails to send messages to bookkeepers; these deliver dangerous malware to their computer systems which compromises their computer security.

Read also: 7 Reasons Why You Should Outsource Bookkeeping Services

Ways Bookkeepers Can Avoid and Prevent Fraud

It is important to note that the finance team of an organization is the target of fraud requests. The fraudsters use identifiable language with their targeted company, and the requests appear legitimate. Fraudsters always mount pressure that requests should be attended to immediately and, most time, give specific instructions on how the request should be carried out. Therefore, bookkeepers and accountants must be constantly alert to identify fraudulent requests and avoid them.

Bookkeepers can avoid Business Email Compromise fraud as follows:

  • Bookkeeps should make it a point of duty to always confirm any payment request. Fraudsters usually send emails from an account that appears to be well recognized by their target, therefore as a bookkeeper, it is crucial to always verify such requests. This can be done by either confirming the account details where the request is to be made. It is also vital to Send a message to reconfirm the request to your CEO using a new email compose page and not from the same email received.
  • Do not rush to fulfill a request for immediate payment or information. Fraudsters usually request immediate payment, which pressures bookkeepers. To avoid falling victim, bookkeepers must take their time to verify the request. Always resist the urge to act on any payment request immediately.
  • Always scrutinize emails to detect any red flags. The mere fact that the company’s logo, image, and phone numbers are present in the email does not rule out the existence of a scam because fraudsters can easily recreate these items. Thus, it is necessary to subject all emails to scrutiny, and any red flag detected should not be ignored.
  • Ensure that you do not give personal information in response to an urgent, unexpected request.

To avoid incidents of hacking, Bookkeepers should always ensure the following:

  • Be careful with apps; they should only download apps on their computer system from legitimate marketplaces.
  • Do not reply to scam emails.
  • Protect their information by browsing carefully and avoiding visiting unsafe websites.
  • Never download unverified attachments.
  • Ensure password safety by not disclosing the same to anyone.

In general, companies also need to play significant roles in bookkeeping fraud prevention by ensuring the following

  • The provision of training to all the members of the organization's finance team
  • Background checks on all the members of their finance team

This article is to give you an insight into the frauds targeting bookkeepers. For more information contact us today.

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Ervee is a CPA with international experience in Tax and Accounting. He has over 12 years of experience in accounting and bookkeeping and over a year in VAT implementation, registration, and accounting in UAE. He regularly drives out inefficiencies in company operations and loves the challenge of helping clients find additional ways for an easier and improved compliance and verification of transactions.