Tuesday, March 31, 2015

BBB Warning: Scams Currently Affecting Small Businesses

Scams targeting small businesses are not only becoming more frequent, but are also appearing in many different forms. Most recently, BBB has received reports of office supply scams and Yellow Page spoofs.

Office Supply Scam

How It Works:
Scammers will call your small business claiming to be from an office supply company making offers for limited time pricing, discounts, or going-out-of-business sales. Once you have agreed to make a purchase, weeks later you receive a large invoice for products you did not order. If the scammer is questioned regarding the invoice, they will often back off. However, if your Accounts Receivable staff is authorized to pay any and all invoices, and are unaware of current scams, your business could fall victim.

How to Avoid this Scam:
  • Train your staff and make sure they are up-to-date and aware of current scams and schemes.
  • Make sure your staff does not respond to unsolicited phone offers. All sales pitches should be made in writing.
  • Do not engage with unknown sellers. Make sure they are a trustworthy business by visiting bbb.org.

Yellow Page Spoof

How It Works:
A scammer posing as Yellow Pages might contact your business about updating your directory information. They ask you to confirm some basic information such as your name, address, and phone number. Weeks later you will receive an invoice for an ad in the Yellow Pages. When you call to complain, the scammer posing as a representative tells you that you made a verbal confirmation. They might even play you a spliced recording making it sound like you had agreed to placing an ad.

How to Avoid this Scam:
  • Hang up. Don't confirm information over the phone from unsolicited callers.
  • Don't trust caller ID. Scammers sometimes use special technology to fake the number and name that appear on your phone.
  • The Yellow Pages name and logo are not trademarked, making it an easy target for scammers to impersonate.

If you are unsure if you have fallen victim to a scam, trust your instinct. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. If your business has experience with or has fallen victim to these scams be sure to contact your local Better Business Bureau.

If you are seeking specific information about a business, or simply need assistance, contact BBB serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT by info@boston.bbb.org or call 508-652-4800.  

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