Online scammers have been around for decades—yet despite this, many business owners still aren’t wise to their ways. Every year billions of dollars are lost to online scams, and brand-new scams pop up every month. These new scams use innovative technology to hack private information, and this can have a catastrophic effect on the business that has been targeted.
Luckily, it is fairly easy to protect your business from scammers; you just need to be aware of common scams and how they can affect you.
Here are four popular online scams that target small businesses.
Fake Invoice Scam
A common scam that has become more popular in recent years is the fake invoice scam. Most businesses receive quite a few invoices every month, so it is possible for a thief to send a fake invoice without the company noticing. The invoice could be for online advertising, or it could be for wholesale supplies that you never ordered. This may seem like an obvious scam, but it affects millions of businesses every year—in fact, even Google fell for the scam last year!
You can avoid this scam by writing a list of expected invoices at the beginning of the month. This will make it easier for you to notice if an extra invoice arrives at any point.
Social Media Scam
Most businesses have social media pages that allow them to communicate with their customers about products and deals—but now thieves are trying to muscle in by setting up imposter scams (FYI, this is the most popular type of scam in the USA).
The scammer spends weeks (or even months) building the page up and making it look professional, and once it looks legitimate they scam the customer by taking their money or personal details. This can certainly destroy your brand image, but you can avoid it by investing in social media security from a company such as fraudwatchinternational.com/services/social-media-security/.
Phishing scams have been around for decades, but they are still as popular as ever. A phishing email looks like it is from a legitimate person or company, but it is actually from a scammer who is trying to steal valuable information (such as your credit card details). If you click the link inside the email this will expose your details, leaving your vulnerable—but you may not even be aware that you’ve been scammed.
Valuation scams are also popular online. This happens when a business owner gets an email from someone offering to sell their business. If you take the bait and agree, you will have to pay a down payment for a valuation—but once you’ve sent the money, the other person will disappear. This can be financially devastating, especially if you have a tight budget, but you can avoid it by ignoring any valuation emails.
If you do decide you want to buy a second business, you can do this by contacting legitimate businesses directly yourself. Only contact their official email and phone number, and be sure to video chat or meet in person before sending any money over.
In summary, in order for your business not to fall victim to any of these scams, and for it not to be included in the billions of dollars that are lost to online scams every year, always be aware of any suspicious emails that you receive, and keep yourself up to date with new scams that are appearing.