“Scams and Your Small Business” is available at www.bbb.org/SmallBusiness in both English and Spanish, and includes information on scammers’ tactics, how small businesses can protect themselves from scams, common scams that target small businesses, how to report a scam and related resources on www.bbb.org
Riskiest scams for small businesses
Bank/credit card imposter scams were the riskiest scams, as scammers were under the guise of verifying account information. Scammers fool their targets into sharing credit card or banking information.
Scammers ask them to pay for an advertisement in a directory, or “Yellow Pages.” In other cases, the directory is a total fake and the ad is never placed anywhere.
Fake check scams are the third-riskiest and are used as a tactic for a variety of scams. Sometimes the check is a payment for products or services, but it’s an overpayment and the scammer asks the business to wire back the difference. In other cases, they ask the overpayment to be sent to a third party for taxes or to purchase supplies.
What can business owners do to protect themselves, their employees and their businesses?
Train and inform your employees. Discuss scams during team meetings, encourage employees to talk about it with their coworkers, train them on how to respond to random phone and email requests.
Verify invoices and payments. Never pay until you’ve confirmed you received the goods or services. Create clear procedures for approving invoices and make sure major spending can’t be triggered with an unexpected call, email or invoice.
Be tech-savvy. Don’t believe your caller ID (they can fake this). It’s easy to create legitimate-looking websites and emails. Don’t open attachments or download files from unexpected emails. Secure your files, passwords and financial information.
Know who you’re dealing with. Do research on a new company before doing business and check BBB.org. Ask for recommendations from other businesses.
If you want to see the whole report you can see it on our website: www.bbb.org/smallbizscams.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.