How the Better Business Bureau Protects Businesses from Scams

Businesses aren’t immune to scams and fraud. From false directories to mysterious bills and invoices, the BBB can help businesses guard against money-draining scams.

It’s not just individuals who fall victim to scams—businesses do, too. 

“Small businesses, especially, are targeted because owners often lack the time and resources to fight fraud,” says Christine Sauers, president of BBB of Delaware. “Business fraud can come from internal threats, such as employee fraud, or from full-time external scammers.”

The BBB warns business owners to be alert to the following scams:

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False Directories
Scammers will call the business claiming that they want to update a company’s “free” listing in a business directory or to sell an ad for a phone book. Later, the business finds that it has been billed hundreds of dollars for listing services or for ads the company thought would be in the Yellow Pages.

Bills for Office Supplies
It can be hard for small business owners to keep up with all the financial paperwork. That’s what some scammers are counting on. They hope that the business will unknowingly pay for office supplies they never ordered and don’t want.

Vanity Awards
Some “awards” are actually moneymaking schemes. If you are approached about receiving a leadership or industry award, research the organization carefully and be especially wary if you’re asked to pay money.

Overpayment Scams
New businesses in particular can fall prey to a scam in which a customer “overpays” using a check or credit card and then asks the business to wire the difference to them or a third party. What later happens, though, is that the check bounces or the credit card is false or stolen.

Not All Scams Result in a Money Loss for the Business
Some try to steal its data or prey on its customers and end up damaging the company’s reputation.

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Stolen Identity
In this ruse, scammers pretend to represent your company to consumers and then rip them off—tarnishing your good name.

Phishing Emails
The goal of this scam is to hack into a company’s computer or network. Scammers gain access from the company itself, which replies to false emails that might, for example, claim that the IRS is auditing the company or that the BBB has received a complaint about the company. If you receive a suspicious email, don’t click on any links or open any attachments. Contact the agency or the BBB to confirm the legitimacy of any email.

Data Breaches
Hackers, disgruntled employees or negligence on the part of the company can all result in a data breach that has a severe impact on the level of trust that customers have in your business. Learn how to defend your company from a data breach with the BBB’s Data Security—Made Simpler at 


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