How to Avoid Scams That Target Businesses
When we think of scams, many different images may come to mind — senior citizens being swindled out of their retirement savings, predatory loans or pyramid schemes. But did you know that there are numerous scams that target business owners — particularly operators of smaller establishments? Newer small businesses are especially vulnerable, as the owners are often unaware of the various schemes that criminals frequently employ to acquire cash or business capital from unsuspecting victims.
Examples of business-targeted scams include:
- Vanity scams: These schemes appeal to business owners’ pride by informing them they will get a prestigious award — as long as they are willing to pay the “small fee” associated with receiving the award. Of course, the award does not exist and the scammer gladly pockets the fee and disappears.
- Phishing scams: Phishing is an email-based scam where the crook sends an enticing email to get the recipient to enter personal information such as their SSN, bank account number or credit card data. The scammer uses the information to steal the victims’ identity and gain access to their money.
- Phony business opportunities: Small business owners typically possess a strong entrepreneurial spirt, which can make them as easy target for a bogus business opportunity. A skilled scammer can make an offer that sounds too good to be true — because it is!
- Billing scams: Enterprise scammers can get hold of a bill that the small business owner owes, then make contact posing as the company’s representative or a bill collector and demand immediate payment. The most brazen billing scammers may even show up in person to collect.
- Fake business directory listings: Scammers sometimes contact small business owners asking for payment to list the company in their non-existent directory, with the promise that the listing will attract new customers. The scammer ends up with some of the business owner’s money, and possibly some personal information. The business owner receives nothing in return.
How to Avoid Business-Targeted Scams
There are several steps you can take to avoid becoming the next victim of a business-targeted scam:
- Conduct thorough research on any individual, organization or company that is requesting money from your business. A quick online search can be helpful when attempting to identify potential scammers.
- Never provide details or sensitive information regarding your business to anyone without being able to verify their identity.
- Maintain tight control over who has access to your company’s financial information, especially employees who are responsible for paying bills or dealing with suppliers.
- Do not open emails from individuals or organizations you’re not familiar with and avoid clicking on questionable links.
- When in doubt, hang up the phone or ask suspicious individuals to leave your establishment.
Contact Titan Alarm to Learn More About Protecting Your Small Business From Scammers
Titan Alarm, Inc. is a leading provider of business security solutions in the Phoenix, AZ area. Contact us for more helpful advice regarding how to avoid business-targeted scams.
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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 2, 2018.