We all operate within a very fast-paced, ever-changing environment, so in addition to all the things we need to watch out for, I am adding scams to the list as we enter the holiday season (and something to be mindful of year-round as well).
Scams can affect our business operations if we fall victim to them. For instance, impersonation scams occur when a scammer pretends to be a trustworthy organization or person to steal your money or personal information. The impersonation and associated scams are often accomplished by the scammers through varied forms of social engineering – e.g., the manipulation of individuals/staff.
Impersonation scams may try to convince your employee that an invoice is unpaid, and they will be in trouble if they do not pay it “now.” Or the employee might be fooled into divulging proprietary information.
Someone may be impersonating you or another senior level executive. They instruct your employee to buy gift cards to be sent to them for a particular purpose. They press to do it quickly and to email or text the numbers on the back of the gift card back to them.
A particularly serious scam is when the impersonator tells your accounting department, via an employee who has received “your” instructions, to send your direct deposit paycheck to a “new” bank account.
There are plenty of phishing and other impersonation scams that you and your employees may run into. These can range from phony emails claiming to be your bank with a question about your account, to a retailer or supplier claiming there is an issue with your shipment. These scams will always ask you to take some action such as clicking on a link. By clicking on the link, viruses and malware can invade your systems.
These are all swindles and heighten the need for training staff to spot the red flags and avoid such manipulative techniques. Employees should be trained never to click on unsolicited links or texts. They should always verify claims being made with the actual organization, business, or individual claiming to be making the request; never use the phone numbers or emails in the unsolicited message or text, always go to the source.
There are impersonation scams involving charities as well. Scammers set up look -alike and sound -alike charities that siphon money away from legitimate and reliable charitable causes. Donors need to be able to Give With Trust (SM) and we urge donors to verify the reliability of the charity before donating.
There are places to learn about protecting yourself and the business. To get started you can check the Federal Trade Commission www.ftc.gov, Better Business Bureau® www.bbb.org, BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust (bbbmarketplacetrust.org) and for charities, you can visit www.give.org.
Claire Rosenzweig, CAE is President & CEO of the Better Business Bureau® of Metropolitan New York, an NYSAE Board Member and Past Chair. BBB Serving Metropolitan New York, now celebrating its Centennial Year, was founded in 1922 and serves New York City, Long Island, and the Mid-Hudson region. Visit bbb.org for more information.
NYSAE Board Member