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Scams and your small business

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At the FTC, our mission is to protect consumers, including small business owners. That’s why, when we see scammers taking money from small businesses, we step in. Today, the FTC announced Operation Main Street: Stopping Small Business Scams, a coordinated law enforcement and education effort with state and federal partners, as well as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), to stop scams that target small businesses.

What did those scammers do? The law enforcement actions in Operation Main Street involved defendants that tricked businesses into paying for materials they can get free – or paying for expensive license renewals that were not due. In other schemes, the defendants sent unordered merchandise and intimidated employees to pay for office supplies that no one in the business had ordered (or wanted). In one FTC case, the defendants used robocalls to contact business owners, claiming to be affiliated with Google. The defendants lied, saying the business would not show up on Google searches unless it paid for the defendants’ so-called services.

Because education is critical to spotting and avoiding scams like these, the FTC today also announced a partnership with the BBB to help alert small businesses about scams and how to avoid them. The BBB’s new research report gives data about the frauds that are directed at small business, and helps empower small business owners and employees to speak up and report fraud. Those reports help law enforcers tackle scammers, and can lead to cases like the ones announced today.

So what can you do to protect your own business against scams? Training your employees is a first step. Share with them our new publication, Scams and Your Small Business. Order it free at FTC.gov/bulkorder. Then, stay up to date on new scam and business advice by signing up to get our business blog at FTC.gov/subscribe. Encourage others to do the same.

Tagged with: business, scam
Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

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ANYWAYS, SO IN 2015, THIS IS WHEN ALL OF THE SUDDEN, ALL MY SOURCES LIKE PAYPAL, GOOGLE-YOUTUBE AND ALL THESE BANKS BEGAN SHUTTING ME DOWN! RAISING A PURPOSELY RED FLAG ON ME AND ON MY REPUTATION! AS WELL TAKING AWAY MY HAPPY LIFE I TRULY ONES HAD! SO, THEY SHUT ME DOWN EVER SINCE 2015, CHANGING ALL THEIR POLICIES ON PURPOSE-MAKING IT HARDER FOR ME TO EVEN SPEAK...

THEY ARE STILL MESSING WITH MY LIFE, THEY TOOK MY DREAMS AND LIFE AWAY, AND MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO BECOME FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT WHILE I WATCH THEM ATTACK ME AND GIVE ME ANXIETY AND STEAL MY KNOWLEDGE?? THIS IS NOT RIGHT AT ALL!!

Have you had any luck? This also happened to me. Its scary.

A scam that I always see is emails coming into my inbox saying that the domain xxxxx.com is expiring. They make you believe that it is from your existing domain registry but it is not. Then they charge $75 to $300 per year and it normally cost around $11 per year.

Please develop a newer form for stopping ROBO CALLS. Your current form is too long, when all you need is the date, time of call, and any circumstances around the calls?

When you report robocalls to FTC.gov/DoNotCall, the only information you must give is:

  • your phone number, and
  • the date and time of the call.

I would much prefer that you go after the telephone call violators. We get so many calls on both land line and cell phones. Everything from home improvement, help I've fallen and can't get up to robo calls about how good my credit is to nobody there from a 'Anticipated Live Sales Associate' system. PLEASE! This poop has to stop.

Ditto,

They call all hours well into the evenings on your cell phone.

it is good to see action in this area and your efforts are appreciated. I have data on other "romance"scammers ( and wonder if you can direct me to the right department Names dates phones etc.

You can report romance scams to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I agree these phone calls are getting out of hand as well as their scare tactics if you don't comply

I get many of these scam calls. Both on my land line and cell phone. If I don't recognize the area code don't answer. If a message is left and I know it's a scam I delete it or if I think is important I notify you. When I get emails that I don't know who their from I block them. I never reply.

Thanks for working to protect small businesses, helping them to stay in business which, ultimately, helps us all.

How can I stop calls from a person that calls from different numbers the last number is (951)438-1553 it always says I this is Rachel I calling about the $250,000 line of credit that you got approved call me at the name that appears on your phone or at (800)614-0397. I filed a few complaints with the federal trade commission. I am still getting the same calls some times a men call with the same information. How ca I stop this why the Federal Trade commission cannot stop them?

I get the "Rachel" calls quite often. I don't answer calls when I don't recognize the number and I delete her call when she leaves a message. I assume there's no way to stop them.

I receive a bi-weekly voice mail from Rachel. Never a call. Always just a voice message. Today's is from source phone number (252) 262-2650 with a call back number (800) 614-0397. The source number is different everytime, but the call back number remains the same. She's always "following up" on the $250k Business Loan Application.

There is no Business Loan Application. A simple 'google' search of the telephone numbers shows this is a wide-spread campaign.

I agree about the bogus calls. I'm registered with the Do Not Call Registry but am still bombarded with these calls weekly. They spoof numbers so I don't know how they are going to get caught. My calls range from the credit card rate reduction, Google ads, and student loans rate reduction. I've gotten to the point where if I don't recognize the number (esp. out of state), I don't answer and see if it goes to voicemail. If the caller leaves a voicemail, then it's probably legit.

i keep get email saying the western union ready to send me money .but there is small fee

Why don’t you go after the proven scammers. There is a simple way to ID them. They all have phone numbers. And they are reported to you for what they are. CRIMINALS who despised and use the telephone as their weapon of choice. Work with the phone providers to cut them off at the line. The obvious problem is that the phone companies don’t want to lose the profits generated by these disgusting and hateful scammers. Use the power of the U.S. government to defeat these slime instead of using us as unwilling pawns and victims.

I'm not panning the FTC but I note that people have stepped aside here to note one of the biggest frustrations in many people's lives. I am also noting it as a real problem & everyone talks about it but it just continues. I really hope someone with clout will take this on like government should. Thank you.

It is good to see this service and growing awareness and protection amidst so many scams. When you're small, one person has to do multiple tasks and it's hard to build specialty knowledge. I appreciate that the FTC is working to make things as easy as possible.

Is anyone familiar with City Express Co., LLC? The website (www. cityexpressco. com) says they are based in Zurich, Switzerland with USA office in New York:228 E. 45th Street, NY,NY 10017. Phone: 347-269-0897 Email: usa@ cityexpressco. com. After some training modules, I am getting suspicious.

I keep getting call from a fellow in jamacia telling me I have won millions in a lottery I never heard of at all and after I talked with him and tol him never to call back he keees calling me I have bloked over 60 numbers but he uses a different number each time ehat can I do about it?

I have been offered a $250,000 line of credit for my small business, that I closed two years ago. Or I owe debt, or I'm about to be arrested by local authorities soon. Never answer but they are brazen and creative with their messages. I'm going to jail soon, so they won't be bothering me then!

imo we can be a lot more proactive on going after criminals, the trouble is on the prosecution and enforcement sides too.

I have a small Logistics company, has anybody reported where you get a prospective client looking for a freight quote to Dubai? Where you quote the shipment then they send you a check for 50k more than the quote and say its a mistake but its a pain to get a new check cut so just send them the remaining money left after? It seems like a new way of Money laundering right? Does seem not right at all.

This sounds like a fake check scam. These scams happen when a scammer overpays with a check and asks you to wire the extra money to a third party. Scammers always have a good story to explain the overpayment — they’re stuck out of the country, they need you to cover taxes or fees, you’ll need to buy supplies, or something else. By the time the bank discovers you’ve deposited a bad check, the scammer already has the money you sent them, and you’re stuck repaying the bank. This can happen even after the funds are made available in your account and the bank has told you the check has “cleared.”

For more tips on protecting your business from scams, visit FTC.gov/SmallBusiness.

So, we are a dry cleaner and we got scammed. I was contacted by an "event planner" who wanted to have chair covers and table clothes dry cleaned for a wedding reception. We agreed to a price and he was to send 50% of the price as a deposit ($2,700). He sent a check for $3,800, and asked a favor to send $1,050 to the delivery guy.. I was skeptical but I said If the check clears, then we will send it as a favor (small business to small business we had some sympathy to help him).

So...the check cleared the next morning because my stupid bank apparently gives us the funds "as a courtesy"... MEANWHILE THE CHECK IS FAKE BUT MY BANK WONT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT NOW...anyway we will get to that later.

So the check clears and I trust him. Cool. I send the delivery guy $1,050 via Zelle (the bank transfer program that's new now). He gets it. A couple hours later, the original guy tells me the delivery guys truck broke down and he needs $750 to get it fixed to get to my shop. I was super hesitant and fought to not send that money. Then I finally gave in after a couple hours of arguing back and forth and said to myself that we have that cleared check so another 750 won't hurt.

Well...I was wrong. The very next morning I got an email from my bank that the check was fake. Awesome! And my bank won't do anything about my transfers to this guy and losing $1,800. I reported it to the police and to the FBI. I won't be getting my money back but hopefully this helps prevent other cleaners from getting scammed like I did.

Oh and get this!!!!....I got 4 more emails with the same exact message after this whole scam....all from different addresses and different names...and they even changed the colors of the cloths lol. I can't believe I fell for it, but lesson learned.

Here's the message I received:
I need a Light Dry cleaning/Laundry service (wash & fold) for a high volume of washing's, I am an Event Planner and will be having a party, the quantity of the washing's consist of 50 pieces of table cloths and 170 chair cloths weight of items (390 lbs/pounds) -colors are Brown and Yellow and fabrics are (Linen) Machine washable, normal cycle, tumble dry, no pressing, no hangers and no need to bleach.
I will have a local hauler to deliver the cloths to you earlier before the date of the event and also pick them up when you are done, i also will be looking at most a 5 days turn around time but you can let me know what turn around time you work with as well Kindly let me know the total cost/estimate of the service and Do you accepts Check or Credit cards for Payment (washing soaps/detergent and other substance inclusive in the bill). Thanks

FYI- No heavy or deep stains

Thank you

Rachel called me. 250000 loan. (800)614-0397 callback number. Incoming # 703-972-8954

I'm a handyman in AZ. I keep getting requests for jobs for people out of state. When I tell them I don't accept credit cards. I dont hear from them again. What could this scam be?

My company had to close one of our bank accounts after scammers got our financial information and began printing checks on real check paper. Our company name and address were listed on the checks but not out number. The signature lines changed with each check and were not names of anyone formerly or currently working here. People all over the country began receiving these checks for several thousand dollars as payment for various things from craigslist ads along with instructions on what to do with the extra money. We a large sum of money and were unable to recover the funds even though we did not cut the checks. Months after closing the account we received hundreds of calls from people asking if we wrote them a check. The account number has been flagged for fraud and we now have to pay for a service to monitor our account. Watch who you bank with, small business owners. Ask what happens if your financial information is ever stolen and if you must pay for special fraud protection.

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