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Tompkins VIST Bank Helps Small Businesses Prevent Cyberattacks

By Tompkins Vist Bank

Dec 07, 2020

Wyomissing, PA – Tompkins VIST Bank recently hosted a webinar for small businesses designed to help them prevent the growing threat of cyberattacks in the current environment. The speakers were Paula Barron, the bank’s senior vice president of Community Banking; Bob Massino, vice president, Cash Management; and Leon Brockway, Information Security officer for the bank’s parent company, Tompkins Financial.

“This is a time when cyberthreats are increasing because companies are doing more business online and have fewer employees to monitor processes,” said Barron. “As a bank, we’re used to protecting our own operations from fraud, so we wanted to pass some of our knowledge on to our customers.”

Small Businesses are Prime Targets

Barron said that small businesses, the bank’s specialty, are prime targets for cybercriminals because they often don’t have the resources to protect themselves. Brockway adds that protection is increasingly important because cyber fraud has become more sophisticated. “When people hear the word “hacker” they usually think of a young person with a computer working out of their home,” he said. “But today’s cybercriminals often are organizations with enormous resources behind them.” If small businesses undergo cyberattacks, the results can be a loss of system availability, reduced profits, and reputational damage, Brockway says. 

The primary way fraudsters can gain control of a company’s system is through emails, but there are many other ways. For example, they can obtain remote desktop protocols that allow them to “walk through the virtual front door.” Some ways companies can protect themselves are frequent system updates, multi-factor authentication and requiring customers and employees to change password frequently.

Payment Fraud Growing

Businesses’ online payment systems are a growing target, with payment fraud now exceeding $40 billion a year, says Cash Management expert Bob Massino. In response, banks provide cash management services, such as Tompkins VIST Bank’s version, called Positive Pay, which guards against online mailbox theft, check copying and other scams. Positive Pay is especially helpful for companies that issue a large volume of checks and/or third party Automated Clearing House debit transactions. It works by allowing businesses to monitor checks and ACH debits processed for payment against their account and to reject unauthorized transactions before losses occur. Positive Pay also:  

–       Helps to solidify internal controls and audit trails

–       Allows the customer to keep their existing account in place if compromised and minimizes the disruption to the business operations

–       Offers an optional add on called Payee Positive Pay, which identifies the accuracy of the payee name and stops checks that have an altered name. 

Massino says that a number of banks offer some version of this kind of service and small businesses would be wise to investigate them.

More Webinars Planned

With fraud on the rise, Barron says the bank plans to offer more cybersecurity webinars. “We recognize what a difficult time this has been for our customers and want to support them every way we can,” she says. “This is one way we can help them protect their resources.”

About Tompkins VIST Bank

Tompkins VIST Bank, a subsidiary of Tompkins Financial Corporation, is a locally headquartered community bank with 19 branches serving southeastern Pennsylvania.  The bank offers personalized service, local decision-making and a broad range of services for consumers and businesses. These include cash management, commercial loans, and an online business loan application process. Insurance and wealth management services are provided through the Pennsylvania offices of Tompkins Insurance and Tompkins Financial Advisors. Whether you prefer branch or remote mobile banking, we provide the breadth of services and local decision-making to make what’s possible a reality. Locally Focused.  A World of Possibilities. More information available at,,

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