Small business owners are constantly besieged by tasks that pull them away from the major day-to-day duties inherent in running a successful business. Those tasks can include:
Task 1: Upgrading contact information to directory services
Task 2: Paying miscellaneous invoices
Task 3: Reimbursing customers for overpayments
Task 4: Updating software and passwords
Task 5: Responding to award notifications
Task 6: Checking email
Those seemingly mundane tasks can disrupt the flow of business, and are most often not given the focus they deserve.
And that’s just what scam artists are banking on.
To help small business owners—especially direct sellers—recognize the most common scams and safeguard themselves against fraud, the DSEF has joined forces with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) to create timely and valuable resources that DSA member companies can share with their salesforces, employees and family members.
“For the small business leader to succeed in our current economic climate, they need up-to-date and relevant resources and tools that will enable them to manage their time, finances and business wisely,” said Bettie L. Smith, Senior Program Director for DSEF. “Through our partnership with CUNA, we are developing an abundance of free financial education resources that individuals can access 24/7 in their home via the Web.”
Those resources include an informative video that identifies the six most common scams experienced by small businesses:
Directory Scheme: The free directory update is not so free after all. You’re billed for listings, services or ads you did not agree to. (Task 1)
Supply Scheme: The miscellaneous invoice you received is for office supplies you never ordered. (Task 2)
Overpayment Scheme: The customer requesting reimbursement used a fraudulent credit card or check. (Task 3)
Data Breach Scheme: The antivirus software you never installed and passwords you never updated allowed your sensitive business data to be breached. (Task 4)
Award Scheme: The industry award you just paid hundreds of dollars for does not exist. (Task 5)
Phishing Scheme: The email link you clicked on just allowed hackers into your computer system. (Task 6)
Professor Brenda Cude, Director of the University of Georgia Center on Economic Education, says the key to safeguarding your business these days is to stay focused on all aspects of your business operations.
“First and foremost we just all need to be aware and stop and think about what we’re doing,” says Cude, who is a DSEF board member and serves as the Consumer Committee Co-chair. “If we are not sure, take an extra moment to think again or ask someone else. There’s so much that appears to be legitimate today that really isn’t, and sometimes it takes another person’s opinion to help you see where the possible flaw might be.”
According to Jan Garkey, Member Education Manager for the Center for Personal Finance at CUNA, the partnership between DSEF and her organization will capitalize on each other’s strengths to reach new audiences through the exploding social media platform, including sharing personal finance articles from credit unions across the country through Facebook and Twitter. “CUNA is proud to partner with DSEF on our shared mission to improve the financial literacy of our respective members, future members and the general public. It’s exciting to see this partnership evolve.”
“DSEF and CUNA share a common goal of empowering consumers,” says Nu Skin Senior Director of Public Relations Kara Schneck, who is a DSEF board member and Consumer Committee Co-chair. “We look forward to bringing our respective strengths together to help consumers, particularly those involved in direct selling, have the information and tools they need to make wise fiscal decisions and achieve their financial goals.”
To learn more about the specific types of small-business scams and how to protect your business from fraud, view the video created by DSEF and CUNA here.