Many small businesses are still struggling in this economy, and even a small loss, or a business disruption caused by an infected computer, can be devastating. With all the news about email scams, phishing scams, phone scams, social media scams, and identity theft, it seems like everywhere you turn these days someone is trying to deceive you. The best way to defend yourself is to stay informed, and to use common sense—if it sounds too good to be true it probably is, and if it smells fishy it probably really stinks.
Top 10 Business Scams of 2011
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is dedicated to protecting consumers from all predatory business, and has made monitoring and reporting on scams part of its mission. It recently published the Top Ten Scams of 2011 list. The list includes the top scam in each of nine categories: Jobs Scams, Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams, Social Media/Online Dating Scams, Home Improvement Scams, Check Cashing Scams, Phishing Scams, Identity Theft Scams, Financial Scams, and Sales Scams. Each scam is described in detail along with tips for protecting yourself.
Be Aware of the BBB Phishing Scams
It also identifies the Scam of the Year, which in this case is ironically the BBB phishing scam which targets businesses by falsely claiming that a BBB complaint has been lodged against them, and directing them to click a link or open an attachment to get the details. Clicking or opening installs a virus on the computer which allows the scammers access to bank accounts and other sensitive information. (If this sounds familiar and you’ve received one of these emails, the BBB asks that your forward it to email@example.com to help them track down the source and stop the emails.)
In addition to the top scams list, the BBB provides ongoing assistance with identifying scams. It’s a good idea to check the Scam Source section of their website regularly. It includes a searchable list of recent scams across North America, an Alerts page, a place where you can report scams you encounter, and a Scam Aggregator that compiles scams from across the world wide web.
Sign Up for Better Business Bureau Scam Alerts
Finally, be sure to subscribe to the BBB National Scam Alert Email. The scammers aren’t going away, and they’re getting more sophisticated every day, so it’s more important than ever to stay date on the latest threats.