Online scammers and fraudsters use all kinds of tricks to steal from businesses. By taking sensible precautions you and your business can avoid becoming victims.
Here are some top tips to prevent being caught out by scammers.
- Check it out
- Don’t assume a company is based in New Zealand just because the website address ends .co.nz or .nz. Check to see if a company is registered in New Zealand on the Companies Office website.
- Check that payment pages look secure. Look for a padlock symbol and make sure the website address begins with “https” (the “s” stands for secure).
- Type the company’s name into a search engine, followed by the word “scam”. If the company is fake, you may uncover stories from people who’ve been caught out by the same scam.
- Always check out a trader’s contact details, especially if it’s just a mobile number or an email. Ring a landline if they provide one – and if you can’t get through or it goes to an overseas call centre, it may be a scam.
- If you receive a call with an offer that sounds too good to be true, it probably is – so hang up.
- Call your bank immediately if you have sent your credit details or paid some money to a suspicious trader.
- Don’t respond if you have any doubts that the company or product is fake.
Be aware of these five current threats to small businesses.
- Email scams:Hackers intercept a business’ emails, and then send false invoices to clients, asking for payment to be made to an alternative bank account.
- Ransomware: The infection of small business systems, impacting on business continuity and frequent need to pay a Bitcoin ransom due to poor or non-existent backups.
- Spear phishing:Targeted emails requesting the payment/bank transfer of company funds to offshore accounts. This can involve the creation of almost duplicate domain names to increase the chance of success.
- Invoice fraud:The sending of fake or dubious invoices to trick companies into renewing intellectual property registrations or enter online directories. The most significant this year has been the Corporate Portal scam – read the Commerce Commission’s warning.
- Funding scams:The NZ Funding Grants website has tricked many small firms into paying fees to find grants are non-existent. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Commerce Commission have warned about this company.