Question: What is one way to make it easier for someone to cover up fraudulent activity with your church’s finances?
Answer: Create too many church bank accounts.
According to a recent Managing Your Church blog by Matt Branaugh, this is one of five reasons church treasurers should keep accounts to a minimum. In Q&A: Limit the Number of Church Bank Accounts, Branaugh writes that “conventional wisdom in the church finance world is for churches to limit the number of bank accounts the church uses. Ideally, a church should use only one or two.”
The five reasons underscore the importance of accountability and internal controls.
Does your church limit the number of bank accounts? Why or why not?
When I joined the ECCU staff, I was surprised by the scope of training we receive here. Regular training on matters of banking security is mandatory, even for those like me who don’t handle member’s money or have access to their personal information. [read more]
“Your account appears to have an unauthorized transaction. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.”
Sound familiar? That message is from a recent phishing attempt I received via email. In the act of phishing, Internet fraudsters send spam or pop-up messages in hopes of gaining access to your personal information (credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information). The email looks official and raises concern and may even threaten dire consequences if you do not respond. They include a link to a website that looks official, but isn’t, and captures any personal information you enter so they may steal your identity. [read more]
Employee education is one of the strongest tools in our arsenal to fight cybercrime. NACHA, the Electronic Payments Association, suggests that one simple question can make the difference between an infected network and a protected one. Teaching our employees to always ask, “Does this email make sense?” before responding to it, opening an attachment, or clicking on a link, can make all the difference. [read more]
An elder or usher or staff member at your church voluntarily confesses to embezzling church funds. How do you respond?
“In some church embezzlement cases, a person who has stolen church funds will voluntarily confess—usually out of a fear that he or she is about to be caught. Often, the embezzler will confess in order to prevent the church from turning the case over to the IRS, the police, or to a CPA firm. Embezzlers believe they will receive better treatment from their own church than from the government.”
This excerpt is from a recent Your Church blog by legal expert Richard R. Hammar, who tackles this thorny question objectively and biblically. To learn more, check out “If an Embezzler Confesses.”
How would your church respond?