How technology can help reduce the risk of fraud for homeowner and community associations
With the level of fraud continuing to rise, homeowner and community associations are rightfully concerned. How can property managers stop fraud criminals from threatening association finances? Secure payment platforms and technology-based fraud protections for associations can help limit fraud opportunities and protect against fraud attempts.
Payments pose risk
Minimizing checks and hand-processed payments is one way that associations can reduce the risk of fraud-driven financial losses. If the associations you manage haven’t faced a fraud event, they’re in the minority—two-thirds of businesses have experienced actual or attempted fraud using checks, and 62% have been the victims of business email compromise (BEC) fraud attempts.1
Payments made with bad checks, stolen credit cards, or drawn from fraudulent sources can force an association into a time-consuming recovery process that’s not always successful. But uncollectable payments aren’t the only kind of payments fraud—internal check fraud poses an additional risk for organizations like associations that have limited office personnel. Lacking the staff needed to implement separation of duties and stringent dual controls, the payment collection process at these organizations provides greater opportunity for employee fraud.
How advanced payment platforms help
Technology-based association support services let association leaders provide homeowners with secure functionality to manage their accounts and the flexibility to make payments in multiple ways. While the added convenience and efficiency makes these types of services popular with association leaders and the homeowners they serve, their effectiveness in reducing the potential for fraud may be even more valuable.
By choosing a payment processing partner offering multiple payment methods, including online and direct ACH payments, associations can substantially reduce fraud risk from bad checks. Secure, “hardened” technology solutions can limit paper check handling and eliminate payment processing from office settings entirely, mitigating the potential for employee-driven fraud in offices of every size.
Other tools like Truist Association Service lockbox payment service not only improve collection time but reduce the opportunity for payment theft by routing payments directly to the bank for posting. Exceptions that can’t be processed are handled by the Association Services division, which dramatically lowers the potential for fraud from these high-risk events. And by shifting the responsibility of managing ACH files to a strong association service provider, you eliminate the need to maintain sensitive homeowner bank information in your office—greatly reducing the risk of financial fraud for your association clients and their homeowners.
Specialized services reduce exposure to potential fraud
A strong financial partner like Truist can provide customer service, lockbox, and misdirected payment research services that close gaps in the payment process and offer associations a safer way to manage many of the commonplace tasks that are most often associated with fraud or attempted fraud:
Manage payments and routine service requests securely online
Submit requests to open new accounts or update information on an existing account
Receive signature cards and change of signers electronically and send new account and change of signer requests online
Order, track, and view proofs of coupon book and statement orders
Receive payment activity files to import into accounting platforms or compatible software programs used to track finances
Add and cancel stop payments on coupons
Access maintenance request forms for the association’s account
Adopting secure payment systems and safer management tools can limit many of the vulnerabilities that frequently exist in smaller, less scrutinized operations. Taking advantage of the full array of specialized services and high-tech tools available to property managers today can go a long way toward delivering a comprehensive risk management strategy to the associations you serve.
Are the associations you manage putting fraud-risk reduction technology to work?
Truist Association Services has a dedicated team with more than 35 years of experience serving community associations. Contact us today so we can learn more about your plans and explore how our payment and financing solutions can help you do more. Call us at 888-722-6669, or visit us at Truist.com/AssociationServices.