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Scammers Target Small Businesses

Posted by appsoftdev on March 10, 2015

Inspecting an invoice

In a perfect world, everyone earn their livings honestly and leave others to do the same. Unfortunately, the world we live in is far from perfect. Case in point - the multiple scams perpetrated on small businesses.

Here are a few of the top scam types to look out for:

  • Bogus Yellow Page ad invoices: Small businesses nationwide are receiving mailings designed to resemble invoices for advertising space in the well-known Yellow Pages directories. Be sure to read them closely, as many actually are solicitations for listings in smaller alternative directories. A similar scam involves phone calls from individuals claiming they want to update a business's directory listing. 
  • Unsolicited office supplies: If you receive a shipment of office supplies that you didn't order, along with a huge invoice, consider it a free gift. Law does not require to you return or to pay for mailed merchandise that you did not order. 
  • Vanity awards: A number of scammers out there will play upon your sense of pride, telling you that you've won an award and offering a commemorative plaque - for a fee, of course. Any legitimate award won't cost you a fee. 
  • Phishing emails: Certain emails that appear important may actually be an attempt to hack into your business's computer networks. Common examples are emails purportedly from the IRS claiming an audit, or from the Better Business Bureau notifying you of a complaint. If you receive such an email, do not download or open any attachments or click on any links. Instead, contact the agency directly to confirm an email's legitimacy.
  • Charity pitches: Perhaps the lowest of scammers are those posing as charities and soliciting donations. While charitable contributions can make good business sense, make sure that an organization is legitimate before you make a donation. Give.org is a great source for reliable information. 
  • Overpayment scams: One common scam involves a customer who claims to have inadvertently overpaid for a product or service and asks for an refund of the difference to be wired back to them. In these cases it's likely that the initial payment is no good to begin with.

For more support and guidance in building your Northeast Florida-based small business, consider joining the Baker County Chamber of Commerce. Call 904-259-6433 to learn more.