It doesn’t matter whether the news is good or bad—fraudsters see the glass as completely full.

According to the 2009 Association of Financial Professionals Payments and Fraud Control Survey, the growth of electronic payments and the deteriorating financial conditions caused by the recession have both expanded opportunities for fraud. The J.P. Morgan-sponsored survey of 629 corporate treasury and finance professionals including assistant treasurers, controllers, cash managers, analysts, and directors found that more than 70 percent of organizations experienced attempted or actual payments fraud in 2008.

The survey found large organizations were more likely to have experienced payments fraud than smaller ones, with 80 percent of organization with annual revenues greater $1 billion being victimized in 2008 compared with 63 percent of organizations with revenues of less than $1 billion. Nearly a third of respondents said fraud increased in 2008, and almost 40 percent said it increased in the second half of 2008 as economic conditions deteriorated. Thirty percent of survey respondents report that incidents of fraud increased in 2008 compared to 2007.

Further, nearly 40 percent of organizations experienced increased fraud activity during the second half of 2008 as economic conditions worsened in the U.S. “The fraud attacks on payment activities have occurred at a greater frequency than we’ve seen in the past. Now the vulnerability of all payment methods—especially checks—demands a range of fraud-fighting tools and the vigilance of financial and treasury professionals responsible for protecting organizations’ assets,” said Nasreen Quibria, director of payments for AFP in a statement.

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