The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and, unfortunately, an uptick in scams that often target SMBs. As a business owner, you're not just responsible for your own finances but the financial well-being of your business. With the holiday rush, it can be easy to overlook warning signs and fall victim to fraudulent activities. That's why it's essential for SMBs to be extra vigilant during this time of year. Here are four holiday scams to watch out for, ensuring your business banking remains secure and your hard-earned money stays where it belongs.
Invoice Overload Scams
- What it is: Scammers send fake invoices for products or services your business didn’t order. With the holiday rush, they bank on the chance that you won't notice an extra invoice or two.
- How to avoid: Always verify the authenticity of invoices. If you don’t recognize a supplier or the amount seems off, double-check with your team before making any payments.
Phishing Emails Posing as Financial Institutions
- What it is: These emails look like they're from your bank, asking you to confirm business banking details due to "suspicious activity" or a "security breach."
- How to avoid: Banks will never ask for sensitive information via email.
If you receive such an email, contact your bank directly using the secure messaging service provided by the bank, rather than using the contact number provided in the email. You can also get in touch with your business banker or relationship manager directly for any assistance or clarification.
Gift Card Scams
- What it is: Scammers pose as potential customers or even employees, asking to buy large quantities of gift cards from your business. Once they have the card numbers, they drain the funds.
- How to avoid: Be wary of bulk gift card purchases, especially if the buyer is rushing you or asking for a discount. Verify the identity of the buyer and limit gift card sales to legitimate customers only.
- What it is: Scammers set up fake charities, often with names that sound similar to real ones. They then approach businesses for donations, especially during the holiday season.
- How to avoid: Before donating, research the charity. Websites like Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org) can help verify a charity's legitimacy. Also, always use a check or credit card for donations, not cash or wire transfers.
The holiday season is a prime time for all kinds of fraudulent and deceptive activities, but with vigilance and knowledge, you can protect your business. Always be skeptical of unsolicited communications, especially those that ask for money or personal information. By staying informed about the latest holiday scams to watch out for, you can ensure that your business remains prosperous and free of any financial harm during this festive season.