Recent Small Business Scams and How to Avoid Falling for Them

 

Did you know that around 48% of small businesses assume they’re too small to be the target of online fraud? Don’t fall for this assumption yourself! Every day, there are new scams popping up that specifically target small businesses like yours. Unfortunately, scammers are becoming more sophisticated as well, making it harder to weed out potentially dangerous messages.

What Are Some Known Scams Targeting Small Businesses?

With many small business owners looking for relief in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, scammers see this as an opportunity to steal your information. Last year, the FTC warned of scammers targeting small business owners who were looking to apply for SBA loans like the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Disaster Loans program. Without realizing it, some of these small business owners shared their sensitive business information with scammers, thinking they were applying for federal aid.

Other known small business scams include the following:

  • Phony invoices demanding payments, especially for office supplies or website services
  • Directory scams, attempting to get you to pay to be listed in a fake business directory
  • Phishing scams via email or text messages, encouraging you to click a malicious link
  • Vanity award scams, where you receive an email claiming that you’ve won an award with a link to claim your “prize,” which often involves paying a fee

You can see more details about common small business scams from the Better Business Bureau by clicking the link.

How to Protect Your Small Business From Scams

Fortunately, with a trained eye, you can start to learn more about the signs of a possible scam to help prevent the worst from happening. Remember these tips the next time you get an email, text message, or phone call that seems suspicious.

Never give out personal or private business information in response to an unexpected request. Legitimate organizations won’t contact you out of the blue to ask for sensitive information.

Don’t click on links from unknown senders. If you receive an email or text message from someone you don’t know, don’t click on any links within the message, as it could be a phishing technique. Similarly, don’t click on links in an email that looks like it is from someone you know, but the content just seems “odd.” It may not really be from who it appears to be from.

Be wary of someone asking you to act immediately. Scammers want you to take action quickly, without thinking about what you’re doing. If you receive a message that pressures you to act fast, take the time to do more research about the organization and its offer.

Tell your employees to look out for scams too. Make sure your employees know about common scamming techniques as well, to help prevent the accidental sharing of sensitive information. Employees should know not to click on unknown links and when to come to you if they believe they’re being targeted by a scammer.

 

For more information on how to protect your small business from scammers, check out this post.