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Scam Alert

Small Business, Big Scam

Beware of 4 ways that crooks can target your company

BBB complaints. Your company receives an email that seems to come from the Better Business Bureau and has the subject line “Complaint from your customers.” Click on the attachment for details, you’re told.

However curious you are, don’t! The attachment contains  “malware” that can provide cybercriminals with remote access to your company’s sensitive files. At one company where this bogus BBB attachment was opened, scammers were able to order up a fraudulent bank transfer after accessing company bank numbers and passwords.

Your protection: Delete this email without opening the attachment. And with email in general, don’t open any attachment you don’t trust — if in doubt, contact the supposed sender to confirm it’s legit.

The BBB now recommends that all company computers be scanned with anti-virus software at least several times a week, and that website domain owners set up a sender policy framework (SPF), a system that automatically evaluates incoming email for authenticity. You can get instructions at this Microsoft webpage on how to do that.

Also beware of attachment-containing emails purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service or other government agencies offering “Business Grants”; these also typically contain malware or other kinds of scams aimed at small businesses.

Directory deception. Scammers claim to be calling from the Yellow Pages or an online phone directory. They ask your business to “confirm” its address and phone number. For online directories, they might request “search term” keywords supposedly to use on search engines.

Employees often assume that an existing listing is being updated and provide the information. Later the company is billed hundreds of dollars for supposed requested listing services.

In another variation, the supposed listing company sends your firm solicitation paperwork that’s meant to look like an invoice.

Your protection: Tell your employees not to respond to these kinds of calls. Know that in most legitimate directories, a simple line listing is free, but there are costs for phone directory advertisements and bold-face listings.

Next: Office supply scams. »

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