How to Protect Your Small Business from Cyberthreats & Scams

As small business owners, we are constantly taking care of things….paying bills, invoices, interviewing, meetings, inventory or signing something. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in keeping your business afloat, that you may be putting it at risk being oblivious to what’s actually happening. Here are 10 threats to small businesses that you may or may not be aware of and how to protect yourself. 

  1. Phishing – a type of cybercrime committed through email, telephone or texts by someone posing as a legitimate organization. The scheme usually involves luring targets into giving sensitive information to be used against them rather than to help whatever organization they’re pretending to be a part of. 

What can you do? 

Make sure your firewall and antivirus software is up to date, installed and 

working properly. Never click a link within a questionable email. Instead,

find a phone number to the organization and call them directly with

inquiries about the email. Do not give out banking information over the

phone to someone who has called you. Again, call them directly through a

verified phone number. 

  1. Insurance Fraud – Con artists will have “accidents” in your place of business and claim soft tissue damage that x-rays won’t show. Another popular scheme is to target a work truck and slam on the brakes in front of the target, to create a rear end collision. 

What can you do? 

Purchase insurance coverage that will protect you from scammers. Invest 

in security cameras for your place of business as well as dash cams for

any work vehicles. 

  1. Past Due Utilities – Scammers will call giving you notice that one of your services such as electricity, internet or phone have not been paid and are being turned off…unless you pay the overdue amount by phone. This should scream a red flag!

What can you do?
Hang up. Call your provider directly from one of your recent bills to 

validate that your service is up to date on payments and to report the


  1. Valuation Fraud – Business owners will receive a fax or email from a broker offering to find a buyer for their business. If you fall for this one, they will send someone out to you with a proposal and usually request a large down payment to be used for “valuation.” 

What can you do? 

Contact a broker yourself if you are looking to sell your business. Choose 

someone you know or have gotten a referral and references for. 

  1. Stolen Bank Accounts – This is one of the most common and most dangerous scams for small business owners. Emails can deliver malicious software and keystroke loggers unbeknownst to businesses. Once in, your passwords and usernames and bank accounts are up for grabs. 

What can you do?

Monitor your online accounts daily! Ask you bank what anti-fraud 

monitoring and alerts they offer their customers. 

  1. Office Supply Products – Scammers will pose as supply distributors with a call or email that it’s time to reorder. In a busy moment, if you agree, you will receive an order for very overpriced products. You may not have a phone call or email first but will just receive a delivery of products that were never ordered with a request for full payment. 

What can you do? 

Train your staff on ALL ordering procedures and make sure you utilize 

purchase orders and signatures for all purchases. As for the unordered

product….The Federal Trade Commission says you get to keep that

product as a free gift! 

  1. Directory Scams – Scammers will call asking you to update your information for their online or printed directory. Can seem very innocent, but you will receive a large bill for a directory that probably doesn’t exist or that only went to the businesses that fell for it. 

What can you do? 

Educate your team, especially your gatekeepers about schemes like this.

  1. Fake Invoices – This seems like a no brainer, but out of all the invoices you pay, would you notice an exact duplicate of one of your invoices? Would you pay it quickly without even noticing the difference? That’s what these scammers are counting on. 

What can you do? 

Use accounting software or online banking that ties directly to your

vendors. Educate your employees that handle invoices and question

anything that seems “sketchy.”

  1. Office Visitors – Gatekeepers unite! This is such an easy target for thieves if you don’t have a proper sign in/out procedure at your office. Copy repairman to switch out your copier for a newer model may just take out your old copier and never return. 

What can you do?

Question and verify everyone coming into your office. Find yourself a 

gatekeeper and train them well. If you don’t have a gatekeeper, train your

employees to be on the lookout for anyone that’s not a part of your team. 

Scammers and con artists are counting on catching you in a hurry, or so stressed out that you don’t have time to consider this person might be up to no good. Never click on a link in an email. Never give out secure information by phone. Know who is in your office at all times. Train your people to protect your business as if it were their own. Trust your gut!