This week is the sixth annual National Veterans Small Business Week. Once again, the FTC joins with the Small Business Administration to celebrate and support veterans who are small businesses owners. Whether you’re just starting out or growing your existing business, the FTC’s Business Center has tips and resources to help you stay on track by avoiding common business scams.

Scammers have lots of tricks to get your money. But knowing how scams work can help you avoid them and protect your business. Scammers pretend to be someone you trust and create a sense of urgency and fear to rush you into making a quick decision. They also tell you to pay in ways that are nearly impossible to reverse or track – for instance, wire transfers, reloadable cards, or gift cards.

How can you protect your business? Your best defense is an informed workforce.

  • Check out free FTC resources for tips on spotting scams and protecting your company. Once you’re in the know, share the telltale signs with your staff and share materials with them. Order free copies of Scams and Your Small Business: A Guide for Business for your team.
  • Host a brown bag screening of the FTC’s videos about scams that target small businesses.
  • Pay attention to how someone asks you to pay. Tell your staff to do the same. If someone tells you to pay with a wire transfer, reloadable card, or gift card, you can bet it’s a scam.
  • Don’t believe your caller ID. Imposters often fake caller ID information so you’ll be more likely to believe them when they claim to be a government agency or a vendor you trust.
  • Scrutinize invoices. Scammers imitate the look of government letters and invoices. Not sure if an official-looking invoice is the real deal? Talk it over with others in your industry or community before you pay.

Encourage people to talk with their coworkers if they spot a scam. Scammers often target multiple people in an organization, so an alert from one employee about a scam can help keep others from being tricked. One more thing: stay connected by subscribing to the FTC’s Business Blog.

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