Cyber Attackers Empty Business Accounts in Minutes

The criminals knew what they were doing when they hit the Western Beaver County School District.

By Robert McMillan
Thu, August 06, 2009
Page 3

As lucrative as it may be, this type of ACH fraud is not widespread, according to Mary Gilmeister, president of WACHA, a nonprofit organization that provides information relating to ACH to financial organizations. "It's important, but it's not affecting a large number of financial institutions," she said. "Financial institutions are paying more attention to it," communicating with each other and sending up warning flags when the fraud occurs, she said.

For consumers who have their bank accounts emptied by an ACH scam, federal banking regulations cap liability at $50, so long as the fraud is reported in a timely manner. But for corporations and other entities, things are a lot more complicated, and whether the victim has to pay can vary from bank to bank.

That could seriously erode the public's trust in Internet banking, the investigator said: "We're talking about small businesses, the lifeblood of the U.S., that are getting hit for five or six figures because they've embraced online banking."

Our Commenting Policies