If you are your own boss, you know how rewarding it can be. But there’s no question that it’s kind of scary owning a small business these days. You have had pandemic-related closures and restrictions eating into your bottom line. And you also have scammers out to take advantage of your fears.
Fortunately, at least when it comes to scams, you can easily fight back. All it takes is a cool head and common sense to identify them, no matter where they’re coming from.
Email, in particular, has made it very convenient for scammers to broadcast offers for things like low-interest business loans or small business relief programs. All you have to do is give them something like your banking information or tax ID.
Or you may get emails that look like they’re coming from your bank, an important client, or the government. On the surface, they may appear legitimate. However, links in these emails could actually lead to spoofed websites designed to steal information about your business. Or they could load malware onto your computer.
To avoid falling victim to these kinds of email phishing scams:
- Don’t click on anything or reply to the email.
- Hover your cursor over links to see if they go to legitimate websites.
- Verify the sender’s email.
- Note any incorrect spelling or grammar.
- Be skeptical of an overly urgent or threatening tone.
- If you’re still unsure, contact the supposed sender directly to verify the email’s legitimacy.
We’ve all gotten them: calls or texts from phone numbers that look familiar. But, with no name showing up on the caller ID, it can be difficult to know for sure. It could be a client, or another company with which you do business. Or, it could be a scammer.
These days, scammers have the ability to spoof phone numbers. That way, they could be calling from across the country—or even outside the US—but look like they’re calling locally.
These calls or texts seek to achieve much the same thing as a fake email. Scammers want money…or information that can eventually lead them to money. This means they could try to get valuable personal or business information from you directly. Or they could somehow persuade you to give them access to your device or network, where they can get the information they want without further help from you.
If you are unsure, do not answer a call or click on a link in a text right away. To try and verify the legitimacy of an unknown phone number, you can look it up with a reverse phone lookup. Such a tool may help to reveal the person or business that’s actually behind the phone number.
It if turns out that the caller or texter is someone you do know, great! If not, do not respond. Just report the number to the FCC, and they can investigate and try to put a stop to that particular scam.
You didn’t become a business owner because you lack ambition, smarts, or fortitude. Quite the opposite. Thankfully, those very characteristics are what can help keep you and your business going when challenges like scams (or pandemics) present themselves.
Interesting related article: “What is Phishing?“