Business Owners Beware: You’re In for a Scam Scare!
If you are a business owner with a fairly active Facebook or social media presence, there’s a good chance you received an alarming-sounding text or email recently. Something that looks like this:
Sounds pretty serious, right? Not so fast; don’t click on that link just yet! This text message is an example of a recent scam targeting company websites and business social media pages. Just last weekend, 309 Marketing was hit with this same scam attempt, in addition to several of our other clients. However, this isn’t the only scam business owners must be privy to. This just happens to be one of the most recent! And as scammers adapt and become better at imitating or copying legitimate businesses, being aware of and avoiding these scams is becoming crucial.
Common Types of Scams You Might See
In the last days of 2023 and the opening of 2024, there’s been a significant uptick in scams hitting individuals and business owners alike. These scams can come by email, text or phone, and range in detail, from being overly “spammy” to looking like an actual message you might receive. The first step in avoiding these scams is understanding the tricks hackers like to use. Some common scams you might see include:
- Fake Invoices – These scams often involve sending a fraudulent invoice via email, suggesting you owe money for a service or product you’ve never purchased. They can appear legitimate, with the scammer often posing as a trusted vendor or service provider.
- Online Listing Scams – Scammers may create fake online listings for properties or items, typically at an exceptionally good price, to trick businesses into providing sensitive information or sending money.
- Impersonation of Professional Entities – In this type of scam, fraudsters impersonate professional or regulatory bodies, such as the IRS or a big-name business, in an attempt to extract sensitive information or money.
- Fake Tech Support – Scammers may pose as tech support personnel from a well-known company, claiming an issue with your computer system requires immediate attention. They often request remote access to “fix” the problem, potentially leading to a data breach.
- Phishing Attacks – These scams typically involve deceptive emails or texts that mimic trusted entities, encouraging recipients to click on a link or open an attachment, which can lead to the installation of malware or theft of sensitive information.
- Fraudulent Service Offerings – Scammers may pose as service providers offering exclusive deals or urgent services to steal financial information or payment for services that will never be provided.
- Business Lending Scams – These scams target businesses seeking loans or additional funding. Fraudsters pose as legitimate lenders and deceive businesses into paying “fees” or providing confidential information.
What Can Be Done?
Unfortunately, hackers are getting smarter and more intricate in the scams they pull, and more people are failing to realize what’s legitimate and what’s not. While 309 Marketing can’t predict the “next big scam,” we can at least equip you with the knowledge of what to look out for when attempting to identify a potential scam yourself. Here are a few tips to help you and your employees avoid common online scams:
- Stay Informed – You’re already doing this! Familiarize yourself with the common types of scams, so you know what to look out for. Stay updated with the latest scam trends, as scammers are always inventing new schemes.
- Think Before You Click – Be cautious of emails or text messages from unfamiliar senders, especially if they contain links or attachments. Hackers want you to click these links! These links or attachments often lead to phishing websites or download harmful malware onto your computer.
- Verify Source – If you receive a message from a company or institution you are familiar with or commonly converse with, reach out to them directly via their official contact information. That way, you can confirm whether the communication is legitimate before providing sensitive information or making any payments.
- Secure Your Information – Hackers are having to get “trickier” because internet security is only increasing! By regularly updating your software, using strong passwords, and implementing two-factor authentication, you prevent data breaches before they can occur. Also, regular backups can ensure your data remains safe even if you fall victim to a scam.
- Be Skeptical – If an offer or deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Exercise caution with exceptionally attractive deals.
- Never Give Remote Access to Your Computer – No legitimate company would ask for remote access to your computer. If someone asks for this, it is likely a scam.
- Report Suspicious Activity – If you encounter a potential scam or fall victim to one, report it to your local law enforcement agency and the appropriate online platform. Holding scammers accountable for their actions helps prevent other businesses and individuals from falling for the same tricks and schemes.
Don’t Fall for Scammers’ Tricks!
If you receive a phone message, text, or email that seems suspicious, yet you’re unsure if it’s a scam, call 309 Marketing Group! Our team has (unfortunately) had to familiarize ourselves with all the different types of scams hackers are running to help our clients avoid falling into these potential pitfalls. We can identify the types of scams being run against your business, minimize spam emails via website plugins, and beef up your website’s security through reCAPTCHA and other measures. Or, if interested in additional marketing and website services, call 309 Marketing today at 309-213-9398. We are located at 311 SW Water St, Ste 202, Peoria, IL 61602.