In the wake of a nationwide economic crisis, there is often an uptick in scammers who want to take advantage of the most vulnerable. For small business owners in desperate need of capital to stay afloat, that could mean lenders without your best interests in mind. Here are a few red flags to look out for Avoid becoming a victim of coronavirus scams by following these tips. Share this information with your employees, especially those who deal with your business finances.
Beware of predatory lenders
Predatory lenders exhibit several common traits. It’s important to do thorough research before borrowing money. One of the first things is to look for are reviews from real customers. Check TrustPilot and Google Reviews. See if the lender offers email, phone, or chat customer support.
Unusually high rates and fees, a high-pressure approach, and claims to solve all financial problems are also a red flag. Fast funding promises are also something to look out for. During this global financial crisis, you might need funds sooner than later but beware.
Pay attention to cybersecurity
Cybersecurity should remain a top priority for your organization to ensure you avoid scammers getting sensitive information from your team. Cybersecurity strategies include controlling physical access to the hardware as well as protecting against harm that may come via network access. Security breaches can happen due to malpractice by operators, whether intentional or accidental. Users can also be tricked into deviating from secure procedures. The SmartBiz Small Business Blog has articles to help you safeguard your information.
The FBI reminds people to remember the following when you’re logged online.
- Avoid opening attachments from links you don’t recognize.
- Make sure the Information is from a legitimate source.
- Don’t give out personal information/login data.
- Research questionable websites.
Visit their website for more information.
Government agency scams
Some scammers claim to be representing government agencies like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). If you get an email or call asking you to confirm or update confidential personal financial information, it’s a tactic to get information. Additionally, a government agency will never demand that you pay by gift card, money wire, or digital currency. NEVER provide bank account information, credit and debit card numbers, social security numbers, or passwords.
Unfortunately, taking advantage of people is widespread after a tragedy. Be aware of fake charities. If you want to give back, research the organization and platform. The Federal Trade Commission’s list of organizations who can help you determine who is legitimate.
Online sellers might claim they have in-demand products that you need to keep your business up and running. If you place an order, pay, and never get your supplies, you might have been fooled. Anyone can set up an online shop under almost any name — including scammers.
Check out the seller by searching online for the company name, phone number, and email address,. Do a deep dive to find reviews. If everything checks out, pay by credit card and keep a record of your transaction. If you think you’re being scammed or price gouged, contact your state consumer protection officials. For a complete list of state Attorneys General, visit naag.org.