Businesses can be just as vulnerable to scams as anyone else in the community. However, there are various forms of scams that are more commonly targeted towards businesses.
Be aware that scammers use a variety of different methods to approach their targets. For example, they may send you an email, call you out of the blue or contact you via social media platforms.
The scammer contacts you about purchasing goods and services, and when it comes time to pay, sends you more money than the agreed price. The scammer will commonly pay by cheque, money order or credit card. They will then ask you to refund the excess amount, usually through an online banking transfer, pre-loaded money card, or a wire transfer.
The scammer is hoping you will transfer the excess amount before you discover their cheque has bounced or that the money order or credit card were fraudulent.
Tip: You can find more information about this type of scam at Overpayment scams.
The scammer will send you or your business an invoice for goods or services that you didn’t order (e.g. directory listings, advertising, domain name renewals or office supplies). They’re hoping that you will pay the ‘invoice’ before anyone realises that those goods or services were never requested.
This type of scam tries to take advantage of the fact that the person handling the administrative duties for your business may not necessarily be across operational activities.
Tip: You can find more information about this type of scam at False billing.
Malware and ransomware
The scammer tricks you into downloading or installing a virus that infects your computer system with malware (malicious software). This type of software blocks or limits access to your computer or files, and the scammer will commonly demand a ransom be paid for them to be ‘unlocked’, referred to as ransomware.
The scammer is hoping to gain access to your personal information to commit fraud, or carry out illegal business under your name.
The scammer will generally contact you by way of email, social media, phone call or text message pretending to be from a legitimate business such as a bank, telephone or internet service provider. They might say they’re verifying customer records due to a technical error, or alert you to ‘unauthorised or suspicious activity on your account’.
The scammer is hoping you’ll give our personal information such as your bank account details, passwords and credit card numbers.
Tip: You can find more information about this type of scam at Phishing.
The scammer contacts you claiming to be a stock broker or portfolio manager, offering an investment that will provide you with quick, high returns. The scammer commonly operates from overseas with no Australian Financial Services licence, and the investment results in large losses or assets that are virtually worthless.
This type of scam usually involves telemarketing campaigns marketed as tax-free financial opportunities to get your business to part with money.
Tip: You can find more information about this type of scam at Investment schemes.