Small Business Help: Don’t Fall for These Common Scams – Part II


Last week we started our two part series on scams small business owners need to watch out for. This week, we’ll conclude with a couple more and how you can protect yourself.

Emergency Email Scams

I’ve actually seen this one play out at a company I used to work for. A good friend and colleague of my boss sent him an email. She was travelling and her purse had been stolen. In it was her passport and all her credit cards. Could he be a dear and send her some money so she could get back to Canada? The boss was all set to do this good deed when two coworkers stopped him. Sure enough, when he called his friend, she was safe at home. His email had been hacked and the fraudster was emailing him using names found in his address book.

The emergency scam is a tricky one because who wouldn’t want to help a friend in need? Before you reach for your credit card, however, reach for the phone. Contact your friend/business partner/client to get a verbal verification of the story, or contact someone that knows their whereabouts. If they are in trouble, it will soon become apparent. If not, it’s time to upgrade your malware scanner.

Small Business Scams

Your domain name for your website is about to expire! You need to call this number to update your listing in a business directory. You’re being called to verify your order of toner or other office supplies. These scams aimed at small businesses are effective because they mimic calls and alerts that we expect to get on a daily basis. Knowing this, the scammer hopes you won’t check your paperwork to verify when your domain or hosting fees are due, or that your assistant will whip out the company credit card to pay for that listing or to pay for the office supplies.

Don’t fall for these tricks. When in doubt, check it out. If you are using a contract company to build and maintain your website, they should be the ones telling you when your fees are due. If you have not signed a contract for a listing, you don’t have one. Always double check the name and company of anyone calling about office supplies, especially toner.

Protecting Yourself from Scammers

Take these simple steps to protect yourself, business and money from scammers:

  • Never send money to a person or company without first verifying their information or that you actually owe the requested fee.
  • Have one or two trusted people in charge of ordering office supplies, and personally sign off on supply requests.
  • When somebody shows up at your office to offer products or services and you have a bad vibe about them, ask for their card and say you’ll get in touch later if interested. Then Google them and their “company”. The search results could be very eye opening.
  • Trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is.

Let Us Help

Keeping track of your money is hard when you’re busy running a small business, and that is where AF Accounting comes in. Our services are designed to give you the help you need, be it a question, some light bookwork, or a full suite of accounting services each month. We care about small businesses in Quebec and want to help you succeed. Contact us today to learn more.

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