It seems that as technology advances, so do the tactics of online hackers, phishing scammers, and other criminals. Many companies around the country have fallen victim to hacks and scams that have cheated them out of thousands of dollars.
Scams can range from opening a virus-carrying link, to having your customers’ credit card numbers compromised. Newer businesses are frequently easy targets for scammers because they seem naïve and inexperienced. But you can prove them wrong by protecting yourself and being aware of what’s out there. Here are some of the scams that frequently go after small businesses.
1. Vanity Scam
This kind of scam is usually hidden in a feel-good email. You get a message from a legitimate-looking email address, saying you won an award for small business excellence. The catch is that you have to pay some amount of money in order to receive the reward. Unless you recognize the organization giving you the award, and you are expecting to receive it, these emails are frequently bogus. Don’t fall victim to scammers going after your pride!
2. Phishing Scam
These emails that show up in your inbox look quite legitimate, but when you open the links included in the email, viruses will be downloaded into your computer. These viruses can steal so much information from your computer, from Social Security information to credit card numbers. Phishing is very dangerous for small businesses because it can compromise not only your business’s security but also that of your customers. When you receive emails from unknown sources, read them carefully, checking for errors in spelling or grammar. Scammers may be good at theft, but their emails frequently are riddled with grammatical mistakes and other inconsistencies. You can also hover your computer mouse over the link in the email to see where it leads, without actually clicking on it.
3. Yellow Pages Scam
While these scammers don’t always masquerade as an employee with the Yellow Pages, that is frequently their directory of choice. They will contact businesses, saying the company’s information needs to be updated in some kind of directory. The scammer then bills the company for the cost of being included in the directory and placing ads in the book, even if those ads were never purchased by the business. When the business owner refuses to pay, the scammers often sue. Sadly, this scam frequently results in the business forking over the money, just to end the drama.
4. Overpayment Scam
The scammer calls the business to purchase a product, usually one of the company’s more expensive options. The scammer will then send over a check that pays more than what the product costs. The business owner will then have to send the difference back, not knowing the scammer’s check will bounce. To avoid this, make sure you always get all information from customers. Try not to wire money for any reason, as this is usually not a good sign.
There are many scammers out there nowadays stealing money and personal information through your phone, computer, and other electronic devices. But you can outsmart them by always being on the lookout, and staying vigilant. For more information, visit www.biz2credit.com.