Other Internet-Related Scams
In fact, send them a link to this article and make them read it! This is probably the most important step as an alert employee can stop the headache before it happens.
Once an employee interacts with the scammer, the influx of additional calls and invoices starts. To prevent inadvertently giving scammers an opportunity to use your words against you, you and your staff should avoid saying "yes," "correct," "I agree," or similar phrases on the phone. Phone recordings can easily be changed to make it sound like you're agreeing to make a purchase.
You can potentially protect yourself by recording all incoming calls in order to challenge a scammer later in court. But make sure you take all appropriate steps to make sure your recording is legal. In North Carolina, for instance, only one person on the call needs to agree to being recorded, and that person does not have to get permission or advise the other parties on the line.
You can't agree for your staff, so you should take appropriate steps such as getting a signed statement from all employees acknowledging that calls may be recorded or by placing notices on all phones. For incoming calls received from other states that may have privacy laws that override North Carolina's law, have the call introduced with a message advising calls will be recorded.
Why does a directory scam work so well?
Depending on the size and nature of your business, consider implementing a purchase order system to make sure you're paying only legitimate expenses. If an invoice looks suspicious or is unfamiliar, do some checking before paying it. Even if an invoice is from a legitimate company with whom you do business, it could inadvertently contain an error, be a duplicate of a previous invoice, or be for the purchase of another client that has been mistakenly applied to your business. Designate one or two people who have the authority to work with outside callers or anyone who mails, emails, or faxes on business matters.
Aside from scam protection, this is a great way to ensure that all contacts are getting a consistent business message.
Train these employees aggressively to spot potential scams and to take a step back without fear of reprisal if something looks or sounds fishy. You can reap extra benefits by training them in other ways, such as client retention or customer service, in order to increase your sales or business results!
Check a company out for free with the Better Business Bureau , with the North Carolina Attorney General's Office or your state Attorney General's office , and the state Attorney General's office in the state where the other company is supposedly based. While it can take a little bit of time out of your day, it's worth knowing if the company trying to work with you has a bad reputation. Also, remember that Google is your friend. Try doing an online search for the company using words like "complaint" or "scam. While the information online can contain inaccurate reviews, it can give you an idea of the company's reputation.
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You may also find something very concrete and telling, such as a court order or consumer protection lawsuit that raises red flags. While filing a complaint isn't necessarily a way to avoid a scam, it can have trickle down effects. Once you file a complaint with a government agency, many scammers cease contact, remove your information from contact lists they sell, and may even refund you if you already paid in order to avoid scrutiny. You should file a complaint whenever you receive a suspicious call, a suspicious letter, or a clearly bogus invoice.
Your complaint may be the first in a long series of complaints and can help get the ball rolling against the scammers. Don't assume that other victims will file a complaint. The vast majority of scam targets unfortunately do not take a few minutes to submit a complaint. The FTC protects consumers by stopping unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. If the scam involves the U.
Postal Inspection Service. Postal Inspectors investigate any crime in which the U.
Mail is used to further a scheme. The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer in the state and has the power to enforce state law against a company and the people in the company. While many people think of it as the first place to go, the Better Business Bureau is NOT a government agency and does not have the power to take any action against a company or scammers , though it does have useful information to help you. Our organization also works to promote consumer protection has worked with the above agencies in the past to shut down fraudulent schemes, such as a deed copy scam targetting homeowners.
They may also switch to other delivery methods such as email, letter or phone to approach their targets. For more information on how these scams work, check out the small business scams section on SCAMwatch. False billing scams request you or your business to pay fake invoices for directory listings, advertising, domain name renewals or office supplies that you did not order. Skip to Content Skip to Sitemap. Enter a search term. Toggle navigation. If you receive a threatening call, email or fax demanding payment, ignore it and report it.
Spread the word — make sure your staff are alert to how this scam works and how to protect your business see below. How these scams work Your business receives a fax or email out of the blue from an online business directory asking you to confirm your contact details.
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To make the offer appear legitimate, the fax or email claims to come from a well-known business, complete with their logo and branding. It may also include a link to a website that has a reputable-sounding domain name and all the hallmarks of a professional site.
They may demand payment 12 months in advance. If you refuse to pay, the scammers might try to intimidate you by threatening legal action or debt collection. Protect yourself Make sure the business you are dealing with is the real deal — if you receive a form or tax invoice out of the blue, verify who they are by contacting the company directly using contact details you sourced independently through a phone book or online search. Do not call a number on the fax or email you have received. Bin it, delete it, shut the door or just hang up.