Watch Out for These Common Small Business Scams

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business-scamsBecoming a victim of fraud can quickly ruin your business’s
finances or reputation, a fate that meets thousands of small businesses owners
each year. Small business owners often don’t have the resources or time to
combat fraud, which makes them a popular target for scams, but being aware of
the most common scams can help them avoid
becoming victims
. All small business owners should look out for these
schemes:

Phishing E-mails

Small business owners are often targeted by hackers trying
to gain access to their networks or computers through phishing emails.
Suspicious emails may pretend to come from the Better Business Bureau, the
Internal Revenue Service or other organizations, claiming that a complaint
has been filed
against the business or that an audit is occurring. To
protect yourself, never open attachments or links in suspicious emails.
Instead, contact the organization directly to confirm the contents of the
message.

Directory Scams

For decades, businesses have suffered from deceptive sales
for directories. A small business owner may receive a telephone call from a
scammer who wants to ?update the business’s listing? in a directory, like the
Yellow Pages. The business owner complies, only to later receive a bill for
hundreds of bucks for listing services they didn’t ask for, or for ads which
they believed would appear in the actual Yellow Pages.

Vanity Awards

It’s wonderful to be recognized for your contributions to
your industry, but some awards are unfortunately scams. If the granter of an
award asks for money, beware and research the opportunity before handing it
over.

Office Supply Scams

Many details go into running a business, and some scammers
deceive small business owners by running office supply scams. For example, a
scammer might bill a company for products they did not order or want, hoping
that the owner is simply too busy to notice another bill for office supplies.

Data Breaches

Even the most diligent companies can still fall victim to data
breaches caused by negligence, malicious hackers or even disgruntled employees.
These breaches can significantly effect your business’s reputation and the
faith customers have in your company.

Overpayment Scams

Scammers often pose as customers and overpay for a purchase
using a credit card or check. They ask that the extra money be wired to a third
party or back to their account. The small business owner does not know that the
checks are actually fake or that the credit cards are stolen, and they unknowingly
get scammed into losing money. To avoid this, only work with buyers whose
names, addresses and contact information you can verify, and never wire money
back to someone who is paying you for a product or service.