If you own a business, you are probably already well aware of online scams and how they could affect you, but you may not be aware of the new COVID-19 scams that have started to pop up online.
These scams are intelligent and sneaky, and they are designed to play on the fear or panic that most business owners are currently experiencing. Thankfully, it is easy to avoid these scams; you just need to know what to look out for.
Here are five COVID-19 scams targeting small businesses.
There are lots of government schemes to help businesses during the coronavirus, and scammers are taking advantage of this by emailing and calling businesses to offer support. They may ask for a down payment for assistance, or they may ask for personal information (such as customer details), but if you give them the details, they will use them fraudulently.
You can avoid this scam by ignoring anyone who contacts you out of the blue offering to help. If you do want government assistance, contact them from the official government website.
Public Health Service Scams
Online scammers are also sending emails and messages that appear to be from the WHO (The World Health Organization) or the CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and prevention). They will ask for tax IDs or social security numbers, or they may ask you to click a link in order to fill in your details.
You can avoid this scam by installing anti-virus software and asking your staff to ignore any public health messages they receive.
Many businesses are frantically looking for suppliers who are still working during COVID-19, which means thousands of fake wholesalers have popped up online. This is annoying and inconvenient, but you can easily avoid these scammers by only buying from wholesalers who you know and trust.
Personal Data Scams
Personal data scams are also popping up online. This occurs when a scammer creates a fake brand page, and then they spend time building the page up and gaining followers. Once they have enough engagement, they will post a new product or service and then they will steal money from customers who think they are on your website. This can certainly damage your brand, but you can avoid it with online brand protection.
You may be asking yourself “What is brand protection?” It is a useful service that ensures no scammers are replicating your website or social media pages, so you are less likely to have your brand tarnished.
Internet scams have been around for years, but they are still on the rise. One scam that has become popular during COVID-19 is the company scam, which is where an employee receives an email from ‘the boss of the company’ asking for payslip information or gift card codes. This is effective as the pandemic has led to a large number of unplanned financial transactions, so employees are more likely to believe the email is real. Thankfully, you can avoid this from happening by teaching your employees about company scams and how they work.