BBB and law enforcement team up to protect small businesses

Posted at 8:55 AM, Jun 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-25 10:55:29-04

Better Business Bureau has announced a new joint initiative with law enforcement to help protect small businesses from scams. It's called Operation Main Street: Stopping Small Business Scams.

"It's an education outreach effort to help small businesses protect themselves from fraud. BBB joined with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), eight state Attorneys General, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and two U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to launch the efforts," BBB's Emily Valla said.

"Just this past week the agencies announced a total of 24 actions involving defendants who allegedly perpetrated scams against small businesses. This includes one new FTC case, two criminal actions announced by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 18 actions by state AGs over the past year," Valla continued.

The announcement of the initiative coincided with the release of a BBB study, "Scams and Your Small Business," that took an in depth look at small business scams.

"Nearly two thirds of the small business owners surveyed said their business had been targeted by a scammer in the past three years, and many said their businesses suffered a loss of consumer trust as a result. In fact, 67 percent of the respondents surveyed believe there is a growing risk of scammers targeting small businesses, with only three percent believing that the risk has decreased over the past three years," Valla said.

BBB says there were five scams that topped the list: bank or credit card company imposters, directory listing and advertising services, fake invoices or supplier bills, fake checks, and tech support scams.

"The best ways for businesses to avoid being scammed is to first train your employees and keep them informed on the latest scam tricks. Next, make sure you limit the number of people authorized to pay invoices or place orders. And finally have clear procedures in place to make sure all invoices coming in are legitimate," Valla suggested.

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