Common small business scams


There are scammers who specifically target small businesses because they’re easy targets

Scammers target small businesses for some of the same reasons as fraudsters: few protocols, not much oversight, and a trusting culture.

The directory listing: A telephone call or email comes in asking for verification or confirmation of information that Is listed in a directory; usually simple contact information. This is followed by invoices for inclusion in the directory. If those aren’t paid you’ll start getting fake collection calls which threaten lawsuits or credit problems.

The URL hustle: An email arrives warning that your domain name or email or both is about to expire, asking you to respond with contact details and your credit card information. This isn’t from your actual ISP. Domain name registration information is publicly available unless you pay for it to be private. This is just a way to get you to reveal your financial information.

The charity scam: Someone contacts the business, perhaps even in person, claiming to be collecting for a local charity with a name that may be very close to a well known organization. They ask for either a straight cash donation or offer your business an ad in a program or brochure in exchange for support.

The fake refund: An email or letter arrives explaining that your business is entitled to a refund for a purchase already made, and either gives you a website to visit or includes a check for the amount. Visit the website or cash the check and you’ll find that you’re getting regular monthly bills for something you don’t need or want, or that probably doesn’t exist.

The supply swindle: A telephone call or email comes in to the business asking what type of printer the company uses. It seems like a simple sales call. Some time later a box is delivered to the business COD which is said to contain toner cartridges which the delivery person says were ordered by the business. The employee pays for the order and finds that there was no order and the box contains low quality products or nothing at all.

The key to avoiding most small business scams is to never respond to unsolicited requests for information or payment.