Getting Ahead of Business Scams
As a business owner, you deal with many people on a daily basis. And while building relationships with prospective clients or other companies can be a great thing, remember to be mindful of whom you’re dealing with to avoid common business scams that could sidetrack your dreams.
Take a look at some common scams that are worth watching out for. Any of them sound familiar?
Dishonest Directory Calls
In this case, a sales person may contact you to update your business entry in an online directory. They’ll say they can boost your presence online and ask for payment to do so. Before you decide to make this investment, look into their credentials and get more information on who they work for – it’ll ensure you’re not billed for a non-existent listing.
Outrageous Supply Orders
Although you may have consistent and recurring supply orders every month or so, you’ll want to always check your billing statements. Scammers often bill businesses for materials they never ordered or received and hope that you won’t notice.
This “customer” could try to scheme against you by ordering expensive goods from your business, overpaying by check and then requesting the difference be wired back after the check has been deposited – saying it was all an honest mistake. However, their check will bounce and you’re then out the goods and money.
HOW TO HANDLE THESE SCHEMES
Now that you’re up on the most common of scams, how can you be prepared for situations like these? There are a few things you should implement in your daily business operations.
Train your staff. Take this information to your team so they’re aware of what kind of setbacks can happen. Getting them on board will help lend you extra eyes on any potentially sketchy activity.
Verify information. Always make sure the sales people you’re dealing with check out. Get their full business name, address and phone number, and require a written contract or purchase order for all transactions.
Avoid wiring funds. Wiring money is an easy way to lose track of where it’s going and who ends up with it. Unless you’re dealing with a longtime customer or vendor, never wire money for a purchase.
Inspect all invoices. Though you can’t do it all, it’s important you get your eyes on all bills or purchase invoices – or entrust a small group of employees to approve purchases in your stead. Encourage them to thoroughly investigate any unexpected or unfamiliar invoices, even if they list another employee as the buyer.
Require proposals in writing. Document each purchase with an order number, and keep a list of regular vendors – it’ll help protect your business against scammers who claim you previously used their services.
A good rule of thumb? If something sounds suspicious or too good to be true, it probably is. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be in great shape to protect your business from a setback!
Related Topics: Small Biz Smarts