Running a business exposes you to the risk of scams from a variety of sources. Scammers might try to trick you by pretending to be clients, suppliers, or even tax inspectors. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to identify scams and protect yourself.
Tips and Tricks
Look for clues
Email and text-based scam messages often have spelling and grammar errors. They may also refer to you by a generic title, for example, “Dear Account Holder” instead of using your real name.
Call back to check
If you get a call that you aren’t sure about, tell them you are busy and will call back later. When you are ready to call back, do not call the same number that called you. Instead, find the official number of the business using Google or a phone book.
Take time to consider
Many scammers will put pressure on you to pay immediately. They may threaten that you will be arrested or your tax file number will be cancelled if you do not pay right away. But the police or tax office will never demand that you pay money immediately.
Avoid clicking links in emails or text messages
If you click a link in a scam email, it could take you to a fake website that looks exactly the same as the real one. If you need to visit the website of the tax office, or a company such as PayPal, then open your web browser and find the web address using Google, or use your web browser’s bookmarks system rather than accessing a website from a link. Then you can be sure you are on the real website.
Don’t trust messages on social media sites, such as Facebook, WhatsApp or LinkedIn
Legitimate businesses or government offices will not contact you through sites such as these.
Don’t pay in vouchers or gift cards
Scammers will often ask you to pay bills using a voucher, such as an iTunes gift card, Google Play credit, or similar. Real businesses will never ask you to pay in this way. You should also not pay using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Scammers ask for these forms of payment because they are impossible to trace.
Ask a trusted person for advice
Two heads are better than one and having someone else support you can help protect against scammers’ high-pressure tactics. You can also book a Tech Help session at the library to get tips and support on online safety.
Check out these useful resources from our library collection:
Small Business Support sessions
If you'd like advice or help with your small business, be sure to check out our Small Business Support sessions.