PSA: Regularly review finances for fraud

This isn’t something we often talk about on CD, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a near-miss we had this morning.

I got a call about some fraudulent charges – apparently, a would-be fraudster tried to make off with about $900 from the team account. Thankfully, the bank declined the charges and after some phone calls, everything has been resolved.

Out of curiosity, what policies/procedures do your teams have in place to prevent similar situations?

Some changes we plan on making:

  • Regularly check team’s transaction history (weekly, not monthly), even if team activities have ceased.
  • Regularly verify people who have account access.
  • Have a plan in place in case fraudulent activity is detected and regularly review that plan.
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We do not have any debit/credit cards associated with the team account. I make pretty much all the purchases, keep receipts, and get reimbursed. Checks are pretty much the only way money comes out of the account.

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All of our funds are controlled by the school. They give us a statement once a month and we reconcile it with our own records. Pretty simple, and we don’t have to worry about fraudulent charges, the school takes care of that for us.

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I read this in a way that made me smile.

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Helpful tip on the last point: most all banks have a dedicated service for reporting fraudulent charges and getting chargebacks to your account. We had an issue where a certain subscription service repeatedly failed to unsubscribe us from their service; calling up Chase got us $800 back in a matter of days.

Obviously not something to abuse if you’re not actually dealing with fraudulent charges – anyone you chargeback will usually refrain from doing business with you again if you change your mind later, and reporting legal transactions as fraud can be legally questionable, especially if you clearly received a product/service in exchange.

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My team’s card got mistakenly flagged for fraud for trying to buy a Limelight off the official site. That sucked to deal with right before build season.