Consumer First Alert: how businesses can protect employees from scams

Updated: May. 23, 2021 at 11:37 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Ransomware and cybercrimes have dominated headlines following the attack on Colonial Pipeline, but according to a new FBI Internet Crimes report, businesses are losing a jaw dropping amount to e-mail scams - more than $1.8 billion.

RELATED: Colonial Pipeline confirms it paid $4.4M to hackers

The Better Business Bureau says they are seeing money being lost to common scams.

One of the most common scams is phishing e-mails. The scam often targets people in the company who pay bills.

The message can look like it is from a vendor, a trusted source, or even someone within the company.

According to the FBI, phishing has resulted in more losses than any other type of fraud in the country.

BBB officials say to double check vendors, and to be careful with what information you share.

Another scams that slips in is the phony invoice scam. This often involves office supplies, directory listings, or website services.

It’ll come in looking like an order, and the BBB says it is small enough not to initially raise a red flag.

To protect yourself, officials say to establish payment authorization procedures, and to remember wire transfers, gift cards and pre-paid debit cards are the preferred payment methods for scammers.

Also, if you get a check you weren’t expecting - watch out.

Businesses are being targeted with the overpayment scam - Action 2 News reported about this type of scam earlier this month.

RELATED: Green Bay small business owner targeted in overpayment scam, shares story to warn others

This scam involves a person sending a check for more than the amount owed, and then asks you to deposit it, and send back part of the money.

The check bounces, and you’re stuck.

BBB officials say it’s critical to know the warning signs of a scam.

“Be cautious of kind of generic text or e-mails that don’t address you by name or company - that could be a red flag that they were just randomly sending out e-mails, and trying to hook somebody. And then, make sure you report that to scam tracker, or to your local police department, because chances are it’s not just you being targeted, but also your friends and neighbors, and other businesses in your community,” said Susan Bach, the Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB says the following are all types of common business scams - CLICK HERE to learn more about them.

  • Business E-mail Compromise
  • Directory Scam
  • Stolen Identity
  • Charity Pitches
  • Office Supply Scam
  • Coupon books
  • Vanity award scams

If you have been targeted by a scam, CLICK HERE to file a complaint and to report the scam.

Remember, scammers will often have a great story, and will play on your emotions - even claim to be your manager - and try to catch you off guard, and to act fast.

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