As a busy small business owner, you are always on the lookout for ways to grow your brand. That’s why it’s all too easy for even the most astute entrepreneur to get sucked into a scam. Some con artists are very smart – and they know just how to attract your attention and your dollars. Here are some of the most common scams and how to protect yourself from them.
The CRA Scam
Tax law is confusing and there is a mountain of paperwork you must do for Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as you set up and run your business. That’s why when you get a call saying you owe them money or they require personal information for your account, it can seem very legitimate.
You may very well owe CRA money, but if you do, you should hang up and then call CRA yourself to make sure. You can also use the My Account feature on their website to see if you are in arrears.
CRA scammers sometimes say you have a benefit or refund coming, but they need personal information to send it. Again, hang up and contact the CRA by phone or through My Account to make sure.
It’s likely a CRA scam if:
- The caller asks for a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account or passport number
- The CRA texts you for information
- You are sent an email with a link to click*
- You are threatened or coerced to pay money or cover a supposed CRA debt
*If you call the CRA to request a form or a link for specific information, a CRA agent will forward the information you are requesting to your email during the telephone call. This is the only circumstance in which the CRA will send an email containing links.” – http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html
The Kijiji Scam
Who doesn’t love to save money? Kijiji is a great place to pick up gently used office furniture, advertise for customers or sell inventory or supplies you no longer need. Plenty of small business owners use Kijiji to save or make a little money as they get started, but plenty of con artists use this site too.
The most common Kijiji scams are when the buyer asks to pay you via PayPal, Canada Post, Western Union, Google Wallet or any other online method that can be delayed, stopped or provide access to your personal information. Overpayments are also a scam.
If you are buying or selling on Kijiji, first read this page, and remember, the best way to conduct business after the initial “meeting” through the site is to exchange the goods and cash face to face in a public setting.
More to Come
We’ve got more scams for you to watch out for, so check back soon for part II. You know what isn’t a scam? The great help we can give you in getting – and keeping – your accounting organized. AF Accounting is Quebec’s small business outsource accounting firm of choice. We provide a full suite of services so you can choose the ones you need, or have us manage all of your bookwork. Contact us today to learn more and stay tuned to our blog for the information small business owners need.