4 Common Scam Techniques Businesses Will See
These days, scammers are everywhere, especially with the Internet giving instant, anonymous contact to anyone and everyone. It’s more important than ever to be vigilant because scammers are getting more clever and the scams themselves are getting harder to detect. They’re not just going after senior citizens, anymore. Everyone is capable of being targeted, including small businesses.
For many people, hearing the word “fishing” no longer conjures up images of serene lakes and quiet streams. Instead, it brings to mind “phishing,” which consists of phony emails from social networks and online marketplaces, telling you that your account has been compromised. Their links will take you to a dummy site that’s indistinguishable from the real thing, and when you type in your username, password, and other sensitive information, it goes directly into the wrong hands.
Phishing scams have become one of the most common types of scams, where one can potentially lose anywhere from a few bucks to their entire identity just by clicking on a seemingly harmless link in a seemingly harmless email. Small businesses are not immune to these scams. The scammers simply take a different approach. Instead of Amazon telling you to secure your account, it’s the IRS telling you you’re being audited. (Incorp)
Fake Invoice Reports Scam
When it comes to scams designed for targeting businesses, this is a very popular ruse. Scammers will send a phony invoice, claiming to be another company that did work for or sold goods to the potential victim company. These scams work better on larger companies because these companies tend to process invoices all the time and will pay them without a second thought. After all, paying your bills on time is just good business practice.
Unfortunately, some of these bills are for services that were never performed by companies that don’t exist. Fake invoices for phantom office supplies are a popular scam, as is offering to place your business in a phony directory. (Business)
Phony Charity Scam
This one is particularly mean-spirited. Scammers will pose as small non-profits and ask for charitable donations towards their cause. Businesses often donate to charity, whether it’s true altruism or to simply benefit their public reputation. It’s a common occurrence and scammers take advantage of this. They’ll sometimes pose as obscure foundations, so it makes sense when a business has never heard of them, and they’ll ask for a small amount so businesses are more likely to simply throw money at them.
The key to avoiding this scam is by researching the foundation in question. Keep in mind, however, that professional scammers tend to cover their bases. It’s not difficult to manufacture a phony website to give your supposed organization more credibility. For a lot of people, simply seeing a professional website is enough to convince them that it’s legitimate. Don’t be afraid to dig deep when doing your research. (BBB)
You might think that we’re long past the days of scammers asking victims to wire them money, but, sadly, that’s not the case. What’s worse is that these scams still work sometimes. One such example is the fake check/overpayment scam. The scammer will pay your company with a check and will deliberately pay more than they owe. They’ll then ask you to pay back the surplus amount, usually through something like a wire transfer. Once all is said and done and you deposit the initial check, you learn that the check is fake, but the scammer has already been paid and has promptly disappeared. (FTC)
Always remember that scammers are good at what they do. They’re intelligent, charming, and, when they need to be, legitimately scary. They know exactly what buttons to push and when to push them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you could never fall for one of these. Always be on the lookout.