Small business owners work hard. So do scammers. The FBI reports a 65% increase in losses due to scams since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With everyone at home, scammers took the opportunity to level up the playing field and increase the hunt for unprotected businesses. Businesses are now more at risk than ever before.
The average loss from scam for a small business with more than 100 employees is $104,000. The loss for businesses with fewer than 100 employees has increased to over $200,000. With over 30 million small businesses in the US, if a fraction of them suffers a loss from a scam, the damage to their bottom line could cause them to go out of business.
Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Learning to recognize a scam is the best way to protect your small business.
COMMON TEXT SCAMS
The first text message, or SMS (short message service), was sent in 1992. By the year 2000, the average number of texts sent in America per month was 35. 35 texts per month…for the entire country!
Today, Americans send over 6 billion texts…PER DAY! Is it any wonder why text scams have exploded?
Text messages are simple and efficient ways of communicating. According to Leftronic, 5.13 billion people, or nearly 70% of the world’s population has a mobile device. We send an average 109 text messages every day!
So, how does a text scam work?
You receive a text from a number you do not recognize. It claims to be someone you know, like your boss, and the text message says something like this, “Hi Alex, it’s Jordan. My phone died. Tied up in a meeting. Text me back when you get this.”
All the information seems right, Jordan is the boss. Jordan has your number and knows your name. So, you reply assuming that you are replying to Jordan.
The next text from “Jordan” will be to ask you to send them some information; like the company credit card number because they don’t have access to it right now but need it. If you send this information, it is now stored on the scammers phone.
HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF
What do you do if you get a text from a number you don’t recognize?
The best course of action: do not respond. Even if the person claims to be your boss.
Responding to a scammer’s message in any way confirms who you are.
But what if the info you got sounds legit? Verify!
Scammers count on you being an easy mark. Make it hard to avoid being the next victim, and they will disappear for the moment. You must continue to be diligent and watch for their next move.
Learn the signs of the most common TEXT SCAM.
Knowing what to look for is the best investment you can make in your business. And being diligent with your security is the best way to avoid a scam.