The month of May is Small Business Month, and so all during this month in the Freedom Friday blog and email newsletter I want to answer questions which will help you succeed as a small business owner. In today's Freedom Friday blog and email newsletter, I want to answer the question, “How Can I Keep My Small Business from Being Swindled?” In other words, how can I avoid being the victim of fraud and scams as a small business owner?
There are lots of different scams that target small businesses. Some examples of these scams include fake invoice scams, unordered office supplies scams, directory listing scams, utility company imposter scams, government agency imposter scams, tech support scams, social engineering and phishing scams, credit card processing scams, and fake check scams. In today's Freedom Friday blog and email newsletter, I want to share with you four (4) different ways to protect your small business from fraud and scams:
1. Train Your Employees
The first way in which you can protect your small business from fraud and scams is that if you have employees, you need to train them to watch for fraud and scams. If your small business has employees, I encourage you to forward this email to them. Encourage your employees that if they receive a strange email, even if it looks like it came from an internal department, they should report it to their supervisor. Also, train your employees not to send passwords or other sensitive information through email to anyone. As a manager and small business owner, you should never ask any employee for them to send you a password or sensitive information via email, either.
2. Verify Invoices and Payments
The second way in which you can protect your small business from fraud and scams is to verify your invoices and payments. Look at all your invoices carefully and closely. Make sure the invoice is for an item which you actually ordered and never pay an invoice unless you received that item which was ordered. Your staff needs to do the same thing. You also should establish procedures for approving invoices and/or expenditures. You should limit the number of people who can approve invoices. If you have any employees, only a manager (usually yourself) should approve paying for an invoice. Also, pay attention to how you're asked to pay for invoices. If you're asked to pay for an invoice with a wire transfer, reloadable card, or gift card, that's a red flag for a scam.
3. Become Tech-Savvy
The third way in which you can protect your small business from fraud and scams is to become a tech-savvy small business owner. Don't believe your caller ID because imposters often use false caller ID information when they call. Also, email addresses and websites which may look legitimate are easy to fake, as well. This even affects lawyers. Occasionally I get an email from someone requesting my services, and I look up their company, and I can tell they have a fake website. Fake websites and fake companies are really a thing and do exist. Also, never open an attachment to a suspicious email, or click on a link. There may be a virus that can harm your computer or your server.
4. Know Your Customers, Vendors, and Others Who You Do Business With
Lastly, the fourth way in which you can protect your small business from fraud and scams is to know your customers, vendors, and others who you do business with. Before doing business with a new company, look for the company's name online with the term “scam” or “fraud” or “complaint.” You should read reviews and what others say about a new company. Also, in regard to products or services for your small business, ask for recommendations from other small business owners. Referrals are more reliable than an unsolicited sales pitch. Finally, if your small business involves financial services, make sure you know your customer. If you're leasing property or equipment, ask for a guaranty and ask the guarantor to provide their social security number. You need to know your customer if your small business is involved in any lending or leasing transaction as part of your small business.
If you are interested in starting a small business anywhere in Oklahoma, or you are interested in taking your small business to the next level, please contact me at [email protected] to schedule a FREE strategy session.
For more information about Liberty Legal Solutions, LLC, please visit our website at http://www.libertylegalok.com/