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How Common Scams Could Be Hurting Your Business - Sophia Belnap - Blog

How Common Scams Could Be Hurting Your Business

Scams and fraud are serious risks for any business. In many cases, they may be hurting your company in ways that you don’t realize. As a business owner, you should take steps to educate your team members and protect your company against common scams. The following are a few examples of how scams and fraud may be hurting your business.


Fake or Inflated Invoices

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Depending on how your accounts payable operations are run, you may be paying money that you shouldn’t. For example, one scam involves sending businesses fake invoices for goods or services that haven’t been provided. Invoices for consulting work, for example, can be particularly difficult to track. If your AP team is stretched thin, it may be easy for these fake invoices to slip through the cracks. Similarly, less-than-honest vendors may jack up their invoices with additional line items. Sometimes this happens by mistake and isn’t fraud. In those cases, you can usually get a credit or other restitution from the vendor. However, in some cases, it may be intentional. This is an unfortunate way that a lot of businesses are taken for a ride by dishonest vendors who want to pad their margins.


Fraudulent Payments

On the other side of your finances, you may be receiving payments that are fraudulent. This can happen with checks, payment cards and many other types of payment. Essentially, the payor submits a payment that won’t go through due to insufficient funds or due to canceling the payment after receiving the products/services. While you can protect against these scams in some cases, they are also often difficult to catch at the moment. Avoiding taking personal checks is one good idea. If possible, you should make sure that any card payment has been fully authorized before delivering goods or services. These payments are illegal fraud, but they are often done with stolen or hard-to-trace bank accounts.


Impersonation of Your Brand

In some cases, fraudsters may be using your brand to gain credibility with their victims. They can use tools such as caller ID spoofing programs. This will help them to appear legitimate when contacting others. This can be a part of any number of scams. For example, the scammer may solicit payment from one of your customers. Alternatively, they may use your business to collect personal and potentially sensitive information about others. They may pretend to be hiring for your business to lure victims into a fake-job scam. No matter what, it spells bad news for your brand.


Internal Scams and Theft

Many scams that affect small businesses are perpetrated by team members. This can include actions such as revenue skimming. This includes stealing a portion of cash income at the time of sale. It can even be done by overcharging customers, so there is no clear record. Other common internal scams include payroll fraud. This is done by reporting more hours worked or submitting fake reimbursement claims. These scams often go unnoticed without good internal controls, something that many small businesses lack.


External Fraud by Team Members

Team members may also be using your business to scam others. For example, they can commit accounting or tax fraud and take the illicit profits for themselves. Others may even be using your brand as a way to funnel customers to a side operation. These types of fraud are not as common as some of the above. However, they can be very damaging to your business. You can potentially be sucked into an illegal scheme without knowing it. Should the IRS come knocking, for example, it can be quite difficult to prove that it was all the actions of a rogue team member. It is important to be vigilant for scams and other such behavior.


Discover More About Small Business Scams and How To Protect Yourself

Learn more about common small business scams today. With a little knowledge, you can do more to protect yourself and your company.

Publish Date: March 22, 2022 4:09 PM

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