January 6, 2021 - The Intercash Scam Safety team understands that running your own small or medium-sized business (SMB) is a busy job, filled with countless day-to-day responsibilities. It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-man team or manage several employees, every day as an SMB owner is filled with important tasks that need to get done. With so much to manage, SMB owners have less time to go over all the little details. It’s for this reason that many con artists choose to target these types of companies and their unsuspecting victims. In this edition of Intercash Scam Safety, we take a closer look at the most common scams targeting SMBs.
The first step when it comes to protecting your SMB is gaining knowledge and awareness, so Intercash Scam Safety has put together a list of the top five scams targeting SMBs in 2021. Read through the full list and keep your money safe by watching out for any of the tactics mentioned below.
The goal of a phishing is to capture sensitive information related to your business, often to access your financial data and steal your money. Criminals will use deceiving methods to obtain valuable data such as your Intercash card number, bank information or account passwords. Often done by email and even through social media, these types of phishing methods can target your SMB and your entire customer base. Cyber criminals will often pose as a legitimate organization such as banks or trusted companies, tricking victims into clicking a link that unknowingly downloads a computer virus. Other times the link will lead you to a form or website that looks authentic, but in reality is designed to steal the personal information entered in order to gain access to your money.
You might think that your SMB is safe because you only have a few employees, but it only takes one mistake for your credit card and prepaid card accounts to become vulnerable. Today’s SMB’s should be implementing best-practice methods for the handling of all sensitive financial information. You may also want to consider investing in some computer protection software and a proper firewall. This will help to protect your company as well as your everyday customer.
Fake Invoice Scams
Since most companies receive a number of different bills and financial invoices each month, criminals will simply add a phony invoice to the pile. It may sound silly but you’d be surprised how often a trick like this works. These fake invoices are usually related to office supplies you never ordered, digital advertising you never ran or web domain registrations that don’t exist. Fraudsters are clever and will sometimes go as far as researching your company and identifying your suppliers so they can replicate their invoices for their own nefarious purposes. As a payment solutions provider, Intercash understands how prevalent this ploy is for today’s SMBs.
Running an SMB can be overwhelming and that is exactly the reason why scammers will often target SMBs with this type of fake invoice. Intercash suggests keeping your money safe from this type of deceptive activity by setting up an accounting software that stores the contact and financial information for all your vendors. It’s equally as important that employees handle the correct procedure when dealing with invoices and never provide your card details or financial information before the transaction has been confirmed.
Despite this tactic being used by criminals for many years, countless SMBs continue to fall victim to directory scams. Con artists will contact your company to be featured in their online or printed directory. While normally this service has value, the directories offered by these criminals are either non-existent or simply not distributed. Often times these scammers will pose as a Yellow Pages employee or offer the listing for free, but both of these are simply ploys to get your financial information and charge money for something you either didn’t ask for or didn’t receive.
As is usually the case for these types of frauds, the best form of protection is education and awareness. In addition to following Intercash Scam Safety articles, be sure to do more research if you are contacted about this type of service. Investigate the company and see if you know anyone they’ve worked with previously. Remember that you are the customer in this situation and don’t be afraid to ask questions. These cons are predicated on people not paying attention to the details, so a little extra time will go a long way in keeping your company safe.
It is fairly commonplace for charitable organizations to request donations from businesses, but unfortunately there are still many con artists looking to take advantage of that generosity. While most of these charitable requests are legitimate, there are still a number of companies that become victims of fraudulent charitable solicitation. You will often be approached in person, as criminals employ high-pressure tactics to convince you to donate money or to deceive you about their organization’s objectives.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, always remember that you should never feel pressured to make a decision on the spot. Intercash suggests taking some more time to research the charitable organization; learn about their goals and confirm they are legitimate by checking with a charity watchdog website. You should also ask for some form of photo identification from the representative. Depending on the size of your contribution, you may even want to request a breakdown of where funds from your donations are being allocated.
Office Supply Scams
Another con that has targeted SMBs for years is the office supply trick; often posing as your regular supplier, the scammer will call or email you as a “friendly customer reminder” that it’s time re-order your supplies. In certain cases, these scammers will even call in advance to learn what brand of supplies the business uses. If you are tricked into placing an order, you’ll be sent a bunch overpriced supplies and be left with a hefty invoice. In another variation, con artists will send you office supplies you never even ordered, and then harass you for money. In some case, they’ll even trick you into believing that they’ll report your company to a collection agency as a delinquent customer.
Rest assured that it doesn’t work that way; you actually have the right to keep any unsolicited merchandise sent to your business and do not owe payment if the materials were never requested. With that being said, you can help protect your company from office supply fraud by following Intercash’s advice to always implement caution when dealing with unsolicited calls. You should also create a list of vendors that are typically used by your business, as well as limit the number of employees who have the authority to approve purchases and financial statements for the company.
These are some of the more popular tactics targeting SMBs these days, but there are still countless other types of scams out there. Be sure to always keep yourself educated on the latest tricks by following Intercash Scam Safety news and ensure the protection of your SMB.