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3 Types of Business Scams and How to Avoid Them

If there’s a silver lining to large-scale security breaches that target a broad swath of businesses, it’s that they lead to immediate media attention. Affected individuals are notified as soon as information is available, fast-acting safeguards are put into place, and the community at large is made aware. Look no further than Target’s 2014 data breach or the even larger incident that targeted Home Depot the same year.

Businesses go to great lengths to protect themselves against such extreme scenarios, and wisely so. But for every massive and media-saturated security breach, thousands of smaller ones take place. Protect your business assets against small-time scammers by learning more about these three types of fraudulent activity.

1. False Opportunities

At times, the impulse to stay on top of new business opportunities, partnerships, and products can lead to tunnel vision and rash decisions. Before accepting offers from new vendors or agreeing to meetings with unfamiliar entities, be sure to double-check the company with the Better Business Bureau by visiting their website. Exercising caution applies equally to charity pitches, so if you are not sure if a donation request is legitimate, simply look up the organization at

2. Too Good or Too Bad to Be True

The old, familiar saying holds true here: If a business proposal, offer, or award seems too good to be true, it may well be a scam. This scenario applies in particular to businesses in the form of merit awards or guest speaker invitations. Even the wariest among us can be susceptible to praise and recognition of our hard work, so exercise caution if such an offer requires payment or personal information such as a Social Security number.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is unexpected bad news. A common business scam involves the scammer sending a fraudulent bill or invoice for services. In the hectic flow of day-to-day activities, it may seem easier to simply write a check than to verify billing information. As always, though, it pays to do the research and confirm the accuracy of any bill or invoice received.

3. A Word About Social Media

Most large businesses today maintain a social media presence. Whether it’s a small business owner, social media manager, or summer intern who is responsible for your digital accounts, that individual needs to be aware of current trends in social media scams. Common scams include fake friend requests on Facebook, lottery winner impersonators on Instagram, and private message phishing on Twitter.


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