You worked hard to establish your small business, and harder to keep it successful. However, scam artists are everywhere, just waiting to take advantage of all that hard work. What are some of the most common scams targeting small businesses? More importantly, how can you avoid them?
Online scams are not new, but are ever-evolving as scammers think up new ways to scare small business owners into revealing too much information.
- Phishing. Tried-and-true, this scam has been around for years – mainly because it works. A bank, credit card company, or some other reputable service has supposedly sent your business an email. In it, they ask for login credentials, account information, or other sensitive information, and ask that you either reply to the email or click on their supplied link to log in. Once you do, the scammers have all the information they need to access your business accounts.
- Tech support scams. Scammers inundate your business’s computer with popups, locks, or emails which claim your business is in danger due to computer insecurity. Pay them, and they’ll fix the issue, they say. Instead, the scammers now have your money as well as access to critical information on your computer such as passwords and account information.
- Invoice scams. Scammers know your business responds to multiple invoices at a time, and they’re counting on your inattention. Fake email or paper invoices are sent in the name of services you may actually use, in the hope that they’ll be paid.
Phone and Other Scams
Most of these scams have been around for decades, with a few new twists scammers are using to make them believable for 2019.
- Utility company or IRS scams. These phone scams tend to work via a representative claiming to be from the local utility company or a government agency like the IRS phoning the business during prime or rush hours, claiming immediate shutdown of power or IRS penalties if the business owner doesn’t pay up.
- Unordered office supply scams. The scammer calls to confirm a common office supply order or verify your business’s address. Once you say yes to an unrelated question, unauthorized supplies are sent to your business address, complete with a recording of your voice saying ‘yes,’ supposedly to the new order. The supplies come at a high price and with threats for non-payment.
- Government worker impersonation. Scammers appear at your business or send an email or letter claiming to represent government agencies threatening to suspend your business license or impose fees if you don’t make a payment. Other scams involve selling official compliance posters that should be offered free of charge.
- Overpayment scams. Pseudo-potential customers pay by check via mail, only to realize too late they’ve overpaid. Pay them back via wire transfer, and you’ll soon find out their original check is bad.
How Can Your Business Avoid Scams?
These are some of the most common, but certainly not all of the scams targeting small businesses today. Make sure you and any employees are aware of ways your business may be at risk. A reputable bank or government agency will never request full account information via email or by phone, so train employees with access not to give it. Finally, verify all invoices and payments to ensure your money is going where you intend.
Diversified Management can help your small business avoid scams. For a free consultation or more information contact us by filling in the inquiry form or calling the number listed.