There are many scams specifically designed to target businesses. Scams are getting more sophisticated and difficult to spot so it's important to know what to look for. Some common examples of business scams include:
Business Directory Scams - Business directory scams normally involve you receiving a form in the post or in an email appearing to offer a 'free' listing. In the small print, it will state that by signing the form you are committing to an order. If you sign and return the form, you are agreeing to pay for ongoing entries in the directory, often costing hundreds of pounds per year.
Charitable Publication Scams - Charitable publication scams involve a telesales agent calling and asking if you want to place an advertisement in a publication for a seemingly good cause e.g. local charities or emergency services. Rogue publishers may send invoices to businesses who had said no to their telephones sales pitch, or follow up the invoices with threats of legal action.
Fake Invoice Scams - Fake invoice scammers send an invoice or bill requesting payment for goods or services. The invoices are fake and are for goods or services that have not been ordered or received. For example, the victim might be sent an invoice for a domain name very similar to their current domain name, or for a small amount of stationery. The scammer hopes the victim will not notice the difference and pay the invoice.
Government Agency Scams - Scammers may send official looking invoices, letters or emails to give the impression that they are from a government department, or falsely imply or claim authority to act. For example, they may advise that you must pay a fee to register to comply with certain legislation, pay a fine for breaches of the law, or give bank details to claim a tax rebate.
CEO Fraud - The scam involves fraudsters emailing a business’ finance department claiming to be the CEO or a company director. They will request a quick transfer of money into a bank account. Once the money has been transferred it will be redistributed to ‘mule’ accounts, and the original account will be shut down and rendered untraceable.
Mandate Fraud - This fraud involves changing account details for supplier or customer accounts in order to gain control of an account and benefit from unauthorized payments. This could include changing of bank details in a direct debit or manipulation of credit card activity.
Scamwise NI of which the Police Service of Northern Ireland is a partner has a wealth of information about spotting, preventing and reporting scams. For more information and to better protect yourself visit https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/scamwiseni