These days, many small business owners are on the lookout for potential threats to their computer systems through hacking attacks and phishing attempts, but many may not be aware that less technologically advanced crooks might be trying to rip them off as well. For this reason, it’s important for owners to keep in mind that scams come in all forms.
One of the most common scams that target small businesses these days specifically involves services being marketed directly to companies – in a number of different ways – that end up doing little or nothing for them, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press. For instance, the Federal Trade Commission recently cracked down on one company that scammed unsuspecting firms out of thousands of dollars apiece, and it now has to pay some $15.6 million in restitution to those it bilked. However, this is hardly an isolated incident.
These scams often operate pretty simply: The perpetrators get a list of small business clients from companies that sell this sort of thing, and begin hard-sell marketing campaigns for their services, the report said. That includes phone calls, emails, standard mail, and so on. The marketing doesn’t stop until the company signs up for what it believes to be a legitimate service, which often involves a monthly fee. However, it usually never receives the offerings promised, or anything at all.
Spotting the scam
One of the best ways to identify when this kind of issue arises is by simply ignoring extremely aggressive efforts to get a company to sign up, and to research any services offered online before committing to anything, and especially prior to giving these potential scam companies a payment, the report said. However, the problem is that these operations often operate under several different names at the same time, probably as a means of obscuring their actual, illegitimate intentions as best they can. The best way to avoid being hit by such a scam, therefore, might be to simply use one’s common sense: If offers seem to good to be true, it’s probably because they are.
Owners who want to best position their companies for success might want to consider the ways in which they can not only better protect themselves from scams, but also reduce their ongoing expenses. For instance, if they can cut costs for small business insurance policies – including those for liability insurance – they might be able to save thousands of dollars every year.