My StartUp knows that every dollar counts when you’re getting a new business off the ground, and you certainly don’t want to see your hard-earned sales get siphoned off by scam artists.
The good news is that fraud prevention doesn’t have to cost you a dime. Simple strategies, common sense and a few pointers can go a long way towards keeping your business fraud-free.
In this installment of CFIB’s My Startup program series of fraud prevention blogs, CFIB Business Counsellor Sean Rognon walks you through some common scenarios, showing you how to stop scammers in their tracks.
Fraud happens. Fraud hurts. A 2014 CFIB fraud survey showed that the average cost of fraud on BC small businesses alone is over $7,500 annually. Sadly, only 26% these same businesses were able to recover any of their losses. So, what can we do? Stop it before it starts! Save yourself some time and money – implement these four free and easy tips today.
It’s as easy as 1-2-3-4
Businesses getting burned by bogus long distance phone charges have become more and more common. Hackers call in after hours and access the phone network through the voicemail system and suddenly you’re left with a bill in the thousands for calls you didn’t make. Avoid voicemail passwords like 1-2-3-4 and make a calendar reminder to change passwords regularly. Consider blocking international calls if you know your business doesn’t need this feature.
Follow the (educated) leader
Take the pressure off decision-making: make it a company policy to not agree to any purchases or business deals over the phone. Designate one person to be responsible for making all company purchases and have them take advantage of the free Vubiz courses you get as a CFIB member on Common Frauds and Scams, Phishing, and Fraud Awareness and Detection. This will remove any grey area in the office and your chosen leader can vet all offers with confidence and authority.
Don’t pay for what you can get for free
All businesses at one time or another have been contacted to pay for something they can get for free. This rings particularly true when it comes to Health and Safety training. Contrary to what that person on the other end of the phone says, you don’t need to pay big bucks to get trained in WHMIS courses. In fact, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is currently offering free single-seat courses.
Just hang up the phone
If it doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to end the phone call with that pushy salesperson or delete the email asking for personal information. Feel free to take some time to do some research, and come back to your business decision armed with all the facts. Legitimate organizations won’t pressure you to make hasty decisions or ask you for personal details in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or rushed.
Sean Rognon has worked with CFIB for three years. He enjoys the passion and ingenuity of entrepreneurship. In his spare time, he can be found outside hiking, fishing, camping or boating (hopefully all four on a good day!) with his loveable four-year-old pitbull in beautiful British Columbia.