How to Avoid Scams When Starting a New Business

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Starting a new business is a dream many people hold. They have an idea bubbling up in their head and they want to release it to the world. Many things must happen for a new small business to flourish. You need investors who truly care about what you’re selling, and you need market trends to be in your favor. You don’t want to open a CD business when digital music owns the industry, because that won’t bode well for your business.

One paramount issue you must watch out for when opening your new business is scams. Technology is evolving everyday and so are the scammers. Scammers and hackers can now easily fool new business owners into giving them such small things as free products to major things such as financial documents.

How Your Business Can Be Scammed

One of the most common business scams is phishing emails. A phishing email is a common scam where the perpetrator attempts to get personal information from you or your business. This can be a password to your email or website or sensitive financial information that can hurt you. While phishing emails are much easier to spot than before, it’s important businesses are vigilant. One way to avoid a phishing email scam is to always check the email addresses of new or unknown emails your business receives.

For example, Apple is prone to phishing attacks where users receive bogus emails claiming they need to update their Apple ID password. Users who fall for that scam are at risk of losing their sensitive documents. Always be sure to check the email because most of the time, a fake email will have a bunch of random numbers and common misspellings in the text. If you come across an email like that, be sure to report it.

Fake Invoices

This scam is a killer. A scam that’s that been going on for ages. You get an invoice from another “client” you worked with or from a “business” you used services from. You think nothing of it and pay the invoice. Next thing you know you’re out a lot of money or worse, the scammers drain your bank account. Avoiding scams like fake invoices is like avoiding phishing scams. Always check the email address and the spelling of the email text. If even the slightest thing seems off, don’t hesitate to call the company, and straighten things out. Sometimes, the invoices are real but it’s always best to check and make sure.

Sometimes, the scams are so complex, the scammers will even set up a fake number with a person on the other line to appear legitimate. For example, there are plenty of IRS scams that when you call, they sound real until they ask you to pay your debts in gift cards. Some scams like that are obvious and some aren’t.

Blackmail Threats

These scams are serious. A scammer or hacker claims they have private information, financial or personal, about your business and will try to extort money from you. This can’t be solved by yourself and will require the help of law enforcement or legal aid. Now, many times these blackmail threats are fake. Sometimes the scammer may claim they have information about your business finances but when they show proof, it has nothing to do with your business. These types of scams are most likely sent out in bulk to random businesses and the scammer is likely to be from an overseas country.

The real threats are when the scammer threatens a cyber attack on your site and succeeds in stealing site info or worse, shutting down your site. Problems like these can be avoided by using a strong website builder or host that has built in security systems that detect and stop cyber attacks before they even start.

Fake Charities

As your business grows and becomes popular, you might be approached by charities hoping you’ll donate or sponsor an event. This can be beneficial to your business growth by getting out in the community and you’re doing a good thing to help the world. The problem is there are people out there who will try to take advantage of your business’s good nature.

These scams can be easy to detect by doing simple research on the “charity.” How long have they been in business? Do they have a reputation in the community? Research is key to avoiding scams. Donating money to what might be a fake charity can cause your credit card and/or bank account to be compromised.

Avoid Being Scammed

To save money, you need to spend money. Weird, isn’t it? Don’t be afraid to buy a high-quality firewall protection for your website. Spend time training your employees on how to avoid falling for these scams and what to do should they encounter one. Use strong, complex passwords so that software scammers use can’t break the password. Communicate constantly especially when it comes to financial matters. Always know where your money is going. Never give personal information over the phone to someone you don’t know or have reservations about. Use the correct software systems for your payments and emails and you should be in the clear. The FTC website has a lot of helpful information for your small business if you want to learn more and dig deeper.

Protect Your Business and Save Even More with a Virtual Office

Starting a small business can be costly. Not every small business needs to lease and that’s where a virtual office comes in. Opus Virtual Offices, a leading virtual office provider, helps you save money with their safe virtual office program. Opus VO uses a strong and secure platform, so you don’t have to worry about being scammed. Your new business will receive a professional business address and company phone number without breaking the bank.