This week, April 29 through Saturday, May 5 is National Small Business Week. It's an annual campaign to recognize the contributions of small business to our local economies and communities. But, while we celebrate them, scammers try to target them.
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, small businesses experience fraud at a higher rate than compared to larger companies.
"One of the reasons why, is because many small businesses lack the proper training or tools to help its employees spot the different types of scams that could target their business. There are 154,400 small businesses in the state of Idaho, which make up 99.2% of the companies operating locally. Scammers are after more than just money, data can be valuable as well," Better Business Bureau's Emily Valla said.
Valla says two of the most common scams are phishing emails and tech support.
- Phishing: Scammers pose as top agencies such as the health department, IRS or even BBB stating your business is in trouble. They claim you need to act immediately because you may owe taxes, face an investigation or need to update your business information. Scammers will trick you into providing passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive information. Always take time to verify with the real organization before taking action.
- Tech support: Business owners should also be wary of scammers calling the office claiming their computer system has been compromised. Scammers will often offer to help repair the problem by getting remote access to the computer but instead of fixing the problem, they will instead install ransomware.
So what can small business owners do to not become a scam victim? Better Business Bureau offers these tips:
- Start with education. Train your staff to make sure the people processing invoices or answering phone calls are aware of these scams.
- Put processes in place so one person does not control all the finance decision making. Put steps in place so purchases have to be approved or vetted.
- Utilize BBB Scam Tracker. If you think someone’s trying to scam you, do some research or reach out to BBB. You can go to www.bbb.org/scamtracker to get more information.