How to Detect and Avoid Online Scams Affecting Small Businesses

Do not be the victim of online scams

We are all aware of the massive disruptions of COVID-19 to the global economy. Different barriers for small businesses have been created by the huge move towards digitalization, remote working and functioning trends. Sadly, this vulnerability is being exploited by online scammers. They use new tactics every day to gain as much information as possible. Small firms are the most common objectives in this fight.

Why cyber criminals are commonly attacking small enterprises

Many businesses believe the common objectives to be well-established firms. This is a misconception, however. Big companies have strong safety and are the most challenging goals. Small companies, on the other hand, are most vulnerable with budgetary constraints and weak security. For the following reasons, small companies are the most common target of cyber criminals:

  • Smaller security budget
  • Smaller chances of call refusals (as they assume that a call can be from a prospect)
  • Online security minimum training for employees

Regardless of these facts, small companies can still take steps to reduce the likelihood of online attacks.

Get familiar with Common Small Business Scams

While cybercriminals are increasingly creative, familiarising themselves with common attacks is an intelligent way of avoiding these. Here is a list of small businesses’ most common online scams:

1. Remote Working Scam

While this scam is not new, the obligatory guidelines for social separation have gained momentum. Online scammers produce counterfeit profiles and appear as residents. Here their main aim is to get a job and make an early payment from small businesses. They never come back once they get the payment. On their profiles you can even find the best reviews and 5-star ratings.

Example

For example, a business entered into an online agreement with an HR agency. For the first month, they received 50 percent advance payment. But they never answered when they got the payment. Other forms of online scam work can also be found, such as:

  • Craft assembling
  • Envelope stuffing
  • Multi-level marketing
  • Medical billing
  • Transcription work

Solution:

Before entering into a contract, always check an agency or freelancer. Their identity can be checked online. In addition, you should research online using keywords such as scam, fake, etc.

2. Fake Invoice Scam

Small companies assume that they do not operate at a high standard. So, with fake bills, nobody will bother them. However, this belief is the play of online scammers. They send you fake invoices for the most common things, provided that the payment is received without verification.

They send you an office supplies invoice, for example. In certain cases, they even send you supplies you never requested. They send you a scandalous bill in exchange for it. A carpet cleaning company, for instance, can receive an invoice for cleaning supplies and can pay without verification.

Solution:

While these invoices are extremely persuasive, they are not true. You should therefore double-check the data each time. It is not enough to read the name of the company. It even hides and modifies the content of the email accounts. In addition, bank details and addresses can be even changed. To be safe, you should always call, compare the invoice with the invoice and check your first contract for details. Before making a telephone call, please check contact details online.

3. Technical Support Scam

Have you ever seen an upload of technical support on your computer screen? Small enterprise owners usually receive these pop-ups and a discounted offer phone call. You will also become confused by hypothetical the risk of viruses. In addition, they invite you to a technical security programme and request registration. Small businesses with small budgets usually fall for their trap, since they charge less than genuine companies. Your next step is to obtain all your personal data. They even ask your computer for remote access. They fill it with malware or ransomware once they get access.

Solution:

Don’t ever share your privacy with anybody. It is particularly a red flag if e-mails and phone calls look pushy. However, it is mandatory to doubling our company’s credentials if you really need the technical support and remote access. Never receive such support from newly founded online businesses.

4. Phishing Scam

Phishing is another common cybercrime strategy. These malicious attackers are well-informed about the poor cybersecurity skills of small businesses. Therefore, fake emails and links attract them. The computer is filled with a virus when the employee downloads or clicks on the link. Therefore, the scammer receives all passwords, data and financial data.

Solution:

Train your staff to handle e-mails that you suspect. Send them information and reminds them of how red flags can be identified. Give the frontline workers special attention. Say you don’t click on new links until you have checked. Also, ask your passwords or use password managers to retain strong and unique. There are some good options for Bitwarden, Dashlane and NordPass. Use multi-factor authentication and make anti-virus use compulsory.

5. IRS Scam

Scammers think it’s the easiest method of compliance to impersonate higher authorities. You send e-mails concerning permit fees, late taxation and fines. Since SMEs don’t want to increase such penalties, they pay immediately.

Solution:

No payment is transferred without checking the real website. Visit the IRS office if possible and clarify everything. Report it immediately if you know the email was a scam.

Wrapping It Up

Sadly, at some stage every small business meets online scammers. They can trick yourself with false profiles, send you a fake technical support or malicious links and bills. You must be alert and not be the victim of them. To this end, you can adopt a wide variety of strategies, including staff training, checking at every stage, anti-virus application and online research. Finally, don’t forget to act quickly. Whenever a scammer is suspected, report it immediately. It can make others a great victim of your neglect.

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