Unfortunately being a small business owner carries more risk than just making ends meet and satisfying customers. They are often the targets and victims of many different types of scams, looking to take advantage of those who are spread thin in their duties to the business.
Here are some general Dos and Don’ts for small business owners to take a look at and consider before making decisions.
-Do not pay for goods or services that you did not order. If fraudulent charges appear on blank statements, credit card bills, or other bills, send a letter disputing the false charges right away. Notify the BBB and appropriate law enforcement agencies, such as your state’s Attorney General and the FTC, about the problem.
-Do not respond to unsolicited email business offers from strangers, especially messages from persons in foreign countries that request the use of your bank account (the classic “Nigerian letter” scam, which may also seem to come from other troubled countries).
-Do not confirm or provide private financial information by email. Some email frauds look like a message from your own Internet service provider, bank, credit card company, or other vendor, requesting email confirmation of financial data. If you are concerned, print out the email and send it with a written inquiry to your vendor’s fraud prevention department.
-Do protect your company’s financial data and any data about your customers that could be used for identity fraud purposes. You may wish to hire privacy and security consultants to review your company’s operations and advise you.
-Do investigate an unfamiliar business before you buy. Find out its street address, phone number, whether it is licensed if required, names of key contacts, and its business reputation. Check on it with the Attorney General of your state, your local Department of Consumer Affairs, or the Better Business Bureau.
TIP: When in doubt, check it out with the BBB, the FTC, your state’s Attorney General, or your local Department of Consumer Affairs.