Scams that target businesses can be costly.

The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission advise businesses of all sizes to be alert for possible scams and to regularly train employees to help prevent them.

Crooks pretending to be service providers, suppliers, lenders, or even government officials contact businesses in a variety of ways, including phone calls, email or even in person. Their goals include taking money or information about the business or its customers.

Some of the most common business scams include:

  • Tech support hoaxes
  • People pretending to be from government agencies or utility companies
  • Directory listing or advertising rip-offs
  • Bank and card company impostors who try to steal account information
  • Invoice or supplier hoaxes where businesses are presented with fake bills

Most scams involve impostors demanding quick action. These rip-off artists use fear and intimidation, which often include threats to cancel operating licenses or to shut down vital services or supplies unless payments are made immediately. Money is usually demanded in the form of wire transfers or via reloadable cards or gift cards, and once these payments are made, they can be next to impossible to recover.

So how do businesses protect themselves? Experts stress the importance of education and verification.

Education means training staff to be aware of common scams and how to react to and report possible problems. Education should include specific policies to follow and regular reminders about staying aware and who to contact with concerns.

Verification is huge. With so many scams demanding money, it’s important that employees take the time to confirm that any payment or demand for information is valid. If you’re unsure of the source, cut them off and then either call an official phone number and explain why you’re checking on information or visit an official website to make contact. Don’t blindly send money or share important data such as account numbers unless you’re 100% sure a request is valid.

For more information about scams and how to protect your business, visit bbb.org/smallbusiness and ftc.gov/smallbusiness. The more you know the safer your business will be.

*This content was provided as apart of MoneyIQ through Beavercreek Marketing.

Tax-related identity theft has become a growing threat as hackers and other thieves steal important personal information and use it to file tax returns in your name. That’s why the IRS and other experts recommend you do everything you can to keep your personal information safe – and to file your annual tax returns as early as possible in order to beat anyone else trying to file on your behalf.

This type of identity theft happens when your Social Security number is stolen and someone uses it to file an individual or business tax return in your name and claim a refund. By filing before you, they get the refund money and you’ll be stuck fighting to straighten the mess out.

Besides filing early, the IRS recommends you do everything you can to protect your personal information. That includes:

  • Not carrying your Social Security card in your purse or billfold.
  • Not clicking on links or downloading files from suspicious emails.
  • Not sharing debit and credit card or account numbers.
  • Hanging up on callers posing as IRS agents or financial institution officials who ask for personal information and threatening punishment.
  • Shredding paper documents with your personal information on them when you no longer need them.
  • Safely storing any tax documents.

If you receive a valid notice from the IRS and you suspect your identity has been used fraudulently, respond immediately by calling the number on the notice. The IRS won’t call you with threats of jail or lawsuits and won’t send you an unsolicited email suggesting you have a refund or that you need to update your account. They will not request any sensitive information online via email or social media. These are all scams.

If you believe you’re an identity theft victim, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800.908.4490 right away and also fill out the IRS Form. It’s recommended that you also:

Be sure to do what you can to protect yourself by filing your tax returns early and guarding against ID theft. Visit irs.gov for more information about identity theft and tax scams.

*This content was provided as apart of MoneyIQ through Beavercreek Marketing.

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