Even the best of us have fallen for a scam every once in awhile, but when it comes to a business, a phony deal can mean a loss of hundreds of dollars. Be on the lookout for these common business scams and avoid being taken advantage of.
1. Phishing Emails
These emails seem normal and may reference something “wrong” with your website, “irregular activity” on your Facebook page, a “lock-out” of your bank account, and more. They usually have links in them that, after being clicked, download a virus onto your computer. Look for misspellings or grammatical errors throughout the email – these are signs the email is a scam.
2. Directory Scams
Have you ever had someone contact your business and request to update the company’s information on a directory (such as Yellow Pages)? These scammers will record your conversation, then bill your business for being listed in the directory. When you try to fight the charges, the scammer will use your recorded phone call against you.
3. Hidden Items
If your business sells products in boxes that can be opened in the store, you may be susceptible to scammers who hide smaller, more valuable items inside boxes of other items. For example, they may hide jewelry inside a pair of shoes. To prevent this, thoroughly inspect the boxes at check-out and post a sign that says you have the right to check your items before they leave the store.
4. The “Overpayment” Method
There have been instances when a seemingly reputable company makes a purchase, then sends a check to cover the cost of the purchase. When the check arrives, it’s made out for too much money, so the business owner sends the company the difference – only to figure out that their check is from a closed bank account and is no good.
5. Charity Donations
As a business, you may have had organizations ask you for a donation to a charity or for a good cause, and most of these are probably legitimate organizations. Some, however, use this cover to steal your money. Before you give to any organization, do some research to make sure the charity is real.
6. Office Supply Scams
These scams often involve office supplies like pens, printer paper, toner, etc. A “company” will call or visit your office to offer you a great deal on office supplies. They often hope for someone new or vulnerable who won’t ask questions and will blindly sign for a charge.
7. The “Award”
When it comes to scams, this one is pretty popular. If your business is contacted and told that it has won an “award” for some sort of industry achievement, it’s most likely a scam. This awards organization will ask you to pay the cost for receiving the award and will often continue to charge your card for yearly “membership fees.”
8. Fax Scams
There have been many instances when a business will receive a fax from a company offering a great deal on something. The business will agree to the deal and fax a paper back to a company, which then charges a few dollars for every minute that the fax takes to go through (which is usually awhile).