In the latter part of the 20th century the North Korean regime had become so prolific in forging US currency that at one point an estimated 1 in 2 $100 bills were estimated to be North Korean forgeries.
It isn’t just rogue states though that specialise in counterfeiting and forgeries. In 2005 a British criminal enterprise was found to have produced over $35 million in fake dollars that were significantly undermining both the American and British economies.
If global super powers like the USA are regularly falling victim to counterfeiting and forgery, so could you. Without the resources of the CIA and FBI behind you, how can you be expected to ward off this threat?
Below we outline the very real risks of counterfeiting and forgery to small businesses and tell you about the simple yet effective business checks you can utilise to protect your finances.
Counterfeiting & Forgery Trends
In the USA last year the levels of counterfeiting and forgery were up on the previous year with the most common complaint being check fraud. This accounted for an estimated $1.3 billion in industry losses and overtook debit card fraud as the number 1 method of fraud in the country.
Check fraud could be as simple as adding an extra 0 to a check you receive from a loved one for your birthday, or it could involve criminals ‘washing’ checks your checks to your suppliers and redirecting the funds to themselves.
In 2020 there was also a rise in the number of fraudsters producing counterfeit/forged communications. Typically a fraudster may hack your customer database and then contact your customers pretending to represent your organisation and offer refunds or rebates.
Once in possession of customer’s financial details, the fraudsters will then withdraw money from you customers’ accounts under the illusion that they are depositing refunds. Despite your company not being involved in these scams, these instances can nonetheless irrevocably change your reputation.
Combatting Counterfeiting & Forgery
There simply isn’t enough time to write an article that details all the ways in which you can guard against every type of counterfeiting and forgery threat. Instead we have compiled a number of tips on how to best protect yourself, your business and your clients from the risks of counterfeiting and forgery:
- Stay Informed: With every passing week there are new scams out there designed to take advantage of your company’s weak spots. Be sure to keep an eye out for the latest trends and scams in circulation. You can do things like the FBI’s Scam and Safety webpage.
- Train Staff: It’s not just you that needs to be informed of the latest scams out there and how to combat them. Your staff need to know what’s happening and what to look out for, make sure they are adequately trained.
- Safeguard Data: One of the most valuable things that your business is in possession of is the sensitive personal data of your customers and suppliers. Unsure as to what sensitive personal data is and how to protect it? Check out GDPR legislation from the EU, this provides guidance on the do’s and don’ts’ of data management.
- Smart Financial Systems: If you usually take control for your company’s finances or delegate it to someone else, maybe it’s time to start thinking about smart financial systems. This type of software adds an extra layer of protection to your operations and will help you to spot patterns or discrepancies.
Counterfeiting and forgery is back on the rise in the US and you could fall victim to it if you are not adequately prepared. Don’t take the risk of seeing your trading reputation going up in smoke or burning your profits, be clever and remain one step ahead of the threat.