Mar 25, 201312:51 PMOpen Mic
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Keep your company safe from scammers
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Shut the doors, pull the curtains, hide the valuables. These are the thoughts that flood to mind when we think about scammers and con artists. However, what we should be thinking is, “Run the virus scan, turn on the caller ID, and check every piece of mail heading toward accounts payable.” Businesses are not exempt from scam attempts. In fact, they are increasingly becoming targets. And to stay ahead of the game, you as a business owner need to be on your toes. Start by learning about some of the more common scams directed at businesses.
Phishing is an attempt to acquire sensitive information from a company via email by posing as a legitimate and trustworthy source. Even the BBB has been a target of phishing scammers who have used our trusted name to get to business owners. Common characteristics of these scam emails include misspellings and poor grammar construction, a general greeting to accommodate the bulk mailing, and a request for you to click on the embedded link, which will most likely download malware to grab account numbers, passwords, and other private information.
Best advice: Be suspicious of any unsolicited request for information or email.
Scammers send invoices for products that companies buy on a regular basis such as toner, paper, and other common office supplies. The billing amount is usually not too large because a larger amount would raise suspicion, and since accounts payable personnel often assume someone in the organization must have ordered the items, the invoice is quickly paid along with other legitimate charges.
Best advice: Centralize your accounting practices so that ordering and accounts payable are properly cross-checked.
A “customer” calls your business wanting to place a very large order. He or she wants to pay with a credit card or check but has some reason for wanting to overpay, such as the need to pay cash to a third-party delivery company. However, the third party is actually a co-conspirator, and the credit card is stolen or the check is phony. By the time your accounting department figures this out, the overpayment amount has already been wired and you are out of luck.
Best advice: If a customer overpays, do not accept a check, and be sure to ask for the three-digit security code and customer service number on the back of the card.
While we all appreciate the opportunity to be recognized for outstanding work, be aware that some awards are just moneymaking schemes with no actual merit.
Best advice: If you are approached about receiving a business or leadership award, investigate the organization and ask how you were nominated. Be especially cautious if you are asked to pay for the “award.”
Just like individuals, companies are at risk for identity theft. The scammers may even go as far as posing as your company for the purpose of ripping off consumers.
Best advice: Just like you safeguard your personal identity, keep your business identity safe by shredding documents and safeguarding customer information.