Watch for These Business Scams in 2022

Fraudsters never rest, and as a business owner, you’re at risk. At ESSA, keeping your accounts safe and secure is our priority — and helping you stay on top of what’s happening in the marketplace is a vital business practice.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shares these common business scams for 2022:

Invention Promotion Scams

Dishonest “invention promoters” lie or mislead you about the profit potential of your invention to get you to pay for expensive but often useless services.

Fake Check Scams

A fake check scam occurs when someone overpays you (by check) and asks you to wire them the difference, but by the time the bank realizes that the check is fraudulent, the scammer has your money.

Registration Imposters

Scammers can trick you into thinking they represent the government and that you need to pay money to complete your registration. The mailings look like an official bill for documents to complete your registration. The mailer may also feature your business identification number (or phony government seal) to convince you it’s legit. Check invoices carefully; you could be overcharged, and scammers could steal your money or account information.

Directory Listing Scams

Your small business receives a call about being listed in a business directory like the Yellow Pages. A scammer may tell you it’s free or a renewal and then send a bill even if you didn’t agree. If you were to pay, you’re out of the cash.

Utility Scams

An imposter can call, saying your electricity or other essential services will be cut off if you don’t pay an overdue bill immediately by phone. Contact the utility company directly using the number on your billing statement or the company’s website. Don’t call any number the caller gave you. Never give banking information over the phone unless you call a number you know is legitimate.

Credit Card Processing Deals

Scammers promise to save you money on the lease of your credit card processing equipment. You may pay thousands to lease equipment that would have cost only a few hundred dollars to buy. When your business can’t cancel the lease, the lease agreements hold the business owner responsible for the debts. Some scammers even pretend to be the business’s card processor – tricking the unwary into signing new contracts.

Business License Scams

Here, the victim is scammed into buying bogus professional or business licenses for barbershops, hair salons, auto repair shops, and other businesses. Con artists contact people in different ways, and some say they issue licenses themselves. If a company says it can issue you a professional or business license, contact the agency that oversees your trade to see if the company is legitimate.

A Final Word

The FTC’s Small Business Page is a helpful resource to assist you in learning more ways to protect your business. You can also report suspected fraud directly to the FTC by clicking here to register a report.