Erie Chamber Blog
Tuesday October 16,  2018
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by Pamela Marlowe, Public Relations Director, Better Business Bureau Western PA

 

Has your company been targeted by a con artist?

Scams can impact every business, regardless of location, size or industry. A recent survey of businesses nationwide, initiated by the Better Business Bureau and includes responses from company representatives in Western Pennsylvania, discovered scam activity directed at small businesses is on the rise. In fact, total losses to businesses are estimated to be over $7 billion, not including tangible costs such as time, impact on reputation and loss of consumer trust (CBBB Study, 2018). 

The results of the nationwide survey and its subsequent report are designed to help small businesses spot and avoid scams while empowering employees to speak up and report fraud.

Key findings from the scam survey include:

  • Nearly two-thirds of companies surveyed said their business was targeted by a scammer in the past three years.
  • Scams targeting businesses can result in a higher monetary loss than those targeting individuals.
  • The top five riskiest scams for businesses include: 1) bank/credit card company imposters; 2) directory listing and advertising services; 3) fake invoices/supplier bills; 4) fake checks; 5) tech support scams. 

Locally, the business scam most commonly reported to BBB Scam Tracker in the Erie marketplace is variations of the Tech Support Scam. 

Scammers do not always succeed in claiming a victim. Fighting back and passing on the message to help others is an important step in advancing marketplace trust. 

What can businesses do to protect their employees and company from potential scams?

Train and inform employees. Explain common scams and prevention tips. Encourage employees to talk to coworkers if they spot a scam or questionable practice. 

Verify invoices and payments.  Make sure procedures are clear for approving invoices or expenditures. Limit the number of people who are authorized to place orders and pay invoices. 

Be tech-savvy. Imposters’ often fake caller ID to gain your trust and it’s relatively easy to create legitimate-looking email addresses and websites. Don’t open attachments or download files from unexpected emails. 

Know who you’re dealing with. Before doing business with a new company, search the company’s name online with the term “scam” or “complaint.” Check BBB.org to see if there is a Business Profile on the company. 

In order to thrive and prosper, businesses must be able to operate in a fair and transparent marketplace. Scammers undermine trust, distort the playing field, and take money from legitimate transactions that benefit businesses, thus impeding economic growth. Spreading the word about the risks, the tactics of scammers and the most common types of scams can help us create a safer and more trusted marketplace for all. 

Where can businesses report potential fraud and scams? 

If you spot a scam, report it to FTC.gov/Complaint and to the Better Business Bureau at BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help stop a scam.

TAGS:
  • scams
  • business scam

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