If there is one thing you can count on, it’s that there will always be someone trying to make a quick buck off of the success of others. In the ever-changing consumer universe, this is something that will remain constant. Now, we could write a book about the reasons why scammers do what they do, but that’s not what we’re here for; we’re more interested in arming you with some preventative measures so that you can make sure you’re not the target of one of these scams.
Today we’ll cover a few scams to look out for, and how you can make sure your business isn’t the next victim of a completely preventable crime.
Screen Your Emails
One way to protect yourself against a scam is to make sure you don’t set yourself up for it in the first place! This means carefully screening your emails and only responding to those that look legitimate. Let’s take a look at an example.
My name is Paul and I am contacting you from a small town in Greenland. I saw your website and very mcuh like to order youree products! Please tell me how much the cost is for 100 of your finest bars of sop and i will purchas e them.
I can snd the money to your bank accout if you send me your routing and account numbers. I will have my own private courier pick up the 100 bars of your finest soap and will pay all the expenses. Kindly send me the price and your routig and account numbers and i will pay you right away.
This is a scam. There are a few glaring indicators that this is a scam, and once you know what they are, you’ll be better able to protect yourself from them.
- Spelling. Yes, spelling mistakes are pretty common when it comes to digital communication, but when you see multiple errors like this, it is likely that the email is a scam.
- Asking for your account info. Do not ever, and we mean EVER, give out your routing and account number to a customer! Once they have this information, they can very easily relieve you of your funds, and no one wants that. Never accept payment unless it is through a reliable, secure merchant service like PayPal, a check, or good old fashioned cash.
- Asking for a lot of product. Certainly, you’ll get wholesale requests, but this is excessive for personal use. Unless someone is contacting you for party favors or wholesale, be very cautious if someone claims to just love your product so much that they want to buy hundreds of them. They are likely setting you up for a scam.
The biggest red flags pop up when it comes to payment. If anyone ever asks you to send them an account number of any kind, it is safe to assume that they are attempting to steal your money.
What to Do
If you receive an email like this, the solution is very simple. Delete it. Don’t bother replying; just delete the email. Scammers can’t take your money if you don’t give them the information that they need. You should also make sure that you update your passwords and pin numbers every 6 months so that it is more difficult for an outside source to access your financials and personal information, which can result in a costly headache later on.
Telephone scams have been around for a long time, but unfortunately, they keep getting darker and darker. We’ve talked before about a scam involving an “IRS Agent” who will call, claim that there is a warrant for the victim’s arrest, and state that if the victim pays a specific sum of money, the police will be called off and they will be safe. Many people have fallen victim to this. If you ever receive a phone call like this, remember that the IRS, FBI, or any of the other big government law enforcement agencies will likely not contact you via telephone if there is a serious issue. The IRS has even issued official statements saying that they always communicate via post, and will not call someone directly.
Another phone scam that has seen a disturbing resurgence is the kidnap scam. Proving that the desperate criminality of scammers truly knows no limits, these con artists call unsuspecting parents and claim they have kidnapped their child.
This particular scam has popped up and gained popularity recently, which is why it’s important to understand the steps to take if you receive this kind of call. First, the caller will tell you that they have taken your child, and usually, they will have the name of the child. Then, they will claim that you must pay a ransom, or the child will be harmed. In a similar scam, a caller with a youthful voice will say that they are the victim’s child, and that they have been kidnapped, and must pay their captor a sum of money to be freed.
If you receive a call like this, do not give the person money. In the most recent incidents, parents have called their children’s school and verified that their child was indeed on the premises before calling their local sheriff and reporting the incident. Typically, these calls will come from blocked numbers, which makes it increasingly difficult to track this kind of disturbing activity.
How Do They Find You?
Some people wonder how their email addresses and phone numbers even come into possession of these would-be scammers in the first place, and the answer is simple; the internet. As a business owner, you likely advertise your business online and this puts your name and contact info in the hands of those who may want to scam you. This doesn’t mean you should run to the internet and delete all evidence of your business! Just beware that your information is out there, and be prepared if someone decides to use that to their advantage.
The HSCG and Your Information
It isn’t uncommon for potential scammers to happen upon the HSCG website and contact those who have their information up in our Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Directory section. It is important to note that the HSCG never gives out registered user or Member information to anyone. We take your privacy very seriously-if anyone ever contacts you, claiming to be an HSCG representative, or claiming to work with us, a simple call to the office or email to email@example.com is all you need to confirm whether they are telling the truth or trying to pull a fast one on you.
There are many opportunities for scams out there now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t advertise your business to its full potential. Keep your accounts well protected with strong passwords and pins and safeguard that info by not sharing it with anyone, and you’ll keep your money right where it should be; in your pocket!