Do YOU Have a Bullseye Painted on You?

Guest Post by Amethyst Mahoney of AmethystMahoney.com

Scammers are now targeting small business owners. There are so many successful (and not-so-sucessful) business owners at there that you are now being targeting.

Most of the scammers are attempting to get various smallish amounts of money from you (up to about $150 or so), and they’re counting on the fact that you are overwhelmed and unorganized in your business – so you may not even notice the charges until it’s too late.

Could you be their next victim? Here are four ways to avoid it:

1. Get organized! You know that you are losing countless hours searching through paperwork, emails, and materials each week. But did you also know that not being organized makes it easier for scammers to fool you?

Keep records handy. You can also keep your passwords and business materials in a lock box or locked filing cabinet so they are close at hand but not accessible to just anyone.

2. Read documents carefully. Scammers like to make their letters, which sometimes come through postal mail (not just email), look official. I received one yesterday from Domain Registry of America, stating that my domains were due to expire soon and I could renew at lower rates.

I happen to know who hosts my domains, and I have no intention of switching (HostGator is awesome). When I looked closer, I realized that in very small print, the letter said to “switch” your domain registry provider. The prices were about twice what I’m paying now.

This morning I also looked around about this particular company and found a lot of information about them, how they are scammers, and how they have already settled with the Feds once but are still sending out misleading info. Beware. This isn’t the only company doing this.

3. Never ever give your information to anyone over the internet or anyone who calls you. These days no one will legitimately ask you for your information over the phone or email. In fact with some companies you actually have to jump through hoops to get things changed or just to provide your new information to them.

If anyone contacts you through email asking for your info, you can be 100% assured that it’s a scam. You can send that email to the Consumer Reporting Agency. There’s also info there about the latest scams.

If you think it’s legitimate, get the person’s name, company, phone number and extension. Then look up the company and call by the info you get off the internet. Ask for the person by name. 9 times out of 10 you will find out that the person doesn’t exist at that company.

4. If you’re unsure, Google it. You can bet that there’s info on the scam out there. I had a very belligerent person call my cell phone a few years ago threatening me with a lawsuit if I didn’t pay for a loan I had already paid off. When I Googled the phone number, I got tons of hits on the scamming company that had contacted me.

These are some great tips to keep you from becoming a victim of a scam. But sometimes things happen. Or people steal your credit card information. Or people hack into a company’s system and get your info. I personally use LifeLock just in case. For $16 a month, they step in when someone tries to scam me.

Some people say LifeLock is a scam itself and preys off people’s fears. But last year we had a series of fraudulent charges on our credit card from Australia. It was great to have someone in our corner and to know that we would not be held liable for the charges. It could have turned into an ugly mess.

Make sure you have your own plan too, and always read the fine print.

This post is not to scare you. But you do need to be prepared. ;-)

Michelle Amethyst Mahoney helps holistic small business owners who are struggling to find clients and are feeling overwhelmed attract more clients and make more money so they can serve their bigger purpose in the World and help more people without burning out.  

Amethyst now offers certifications in BAFB as well as other holistic and spiritual coursework. You can find her at www.AmethystMahoney.com.

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16 Comments

  1. Thank you for these ideas. Posting this kind of information is a really good help. At least wa beacome more aware.
    Born27 recently posted… conference callMy Profile

  2. Forewarned is forearmed. It is important heed this type of advice if you want to protect your hard earned cash.
    Neil recently posted… 5 Foods That MUST Be OrganicMy Profile

    1. Agreed–knowing what to watch out for makes it easier to avoid those scams.
      Michelle recently posted… How to Instantly Boost Your Creativity & HappinessMy Profile

  3. In the old days, you could count on two sets of crooks- one was the fake telephone book (which billed you for yellow pages ads in books that never went anywhere) and the other was the “your copier needs paper” scam. Now that we have international communications for pennies, our ‘friend” in the Former Soviet Union and Nigeria have helped escalate the methods and means whereby our wallets become slimmer.

    Caveat Emptor!!!
    Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. recently posted… Sewage as an energy source?My Profile

    1. It seems the bad guys come up with new scams daily. As you said, “Caveat Emptor!”

  4. I really appreciate the tips you shared in here..Thanks for sharing with us..
    tinafreysd recently posted… Ways To Treat AcneMy Profile

    1. Glad this was helpful, Tina.

  5. This should really be a lesson learned for all of us and because we all know scammers spreading already.. Thanks for this information here..
    Nica recently posted… Healthy Dinner with Crock Pot GuideMy Profile

  6. Another Michelle,

    Hello Michelle, when I took a 7 year detour from entrepreneurship, I managed the marketing department of a CPA firm and many of our clients fell for an official looking register your corporation document. One client was about to put the $100+ in the mail but decided to come into the office … letter in hand. When I looked at the document, it was easy to see why someone would believe it was from the State (California) if he/she wasn’t looking closely.

    Great tips, you’re not scaring, just bringing awareness.

    Thanks!
    Adalia John recently posted… Some Awesome Bloggers I met at the Ultimate Blog ChallengeMy Profile

    1. It’s crazy how “official” some of the scams look! Hopefully the more we’re aware of them, the more we can avoid.

  7. Thanks for sharing your own expiences in order to warn others. Scammers are getting better and better at what they do and it’s important to question and check. Much appreciated.
    Bonnie recently posted… An Important Truth About MindsetMy Profile

    1. Always question everything. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Five Ways Your Blog Can Make You MoneyMy Profile

  8. One of the funniest things about this post is that I the same week I also won a free IPod from a business group. I waited 24 hours to make sure it was legit, and then posted it on Facebook. On one post I added a link to the IPod site. I got so many PM’s from people warning me that my FB account may have been hacked and not to click the link!

    I thought it was fabulous some people were so savvy about possible scams. It’s been really difficult to tell people, no, really, I DID win a free IPod! :-)
    Michelle Amethyst Mahoney recently posted… Coming Into You CelebrationMy Profile

    1. Too funny. Yes, there are a few legit giveaways and things out there… hard to find amongst all the scams though.

      Thanks so much for the guest post, Amethyst.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Do YOU Have a Bullseye Painted on You?My Profile

  9. Thanks, Amethyst, for these words of warning. It’s amazing how tenacious these scammers are, even after they’ve been caught more than once. It ‘s sad the way some folks get taken just because they don’t keep up with their own business. Thanks to you, that won’t be us.
    Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D. recently posted… What I Learned About the Kindle Select ProgramMy Profile

  10. I’m glad to see your own expiences in order to warn others. Scammers are getting better and better at what they do and it’s important to question and check.Thank you for sharing this article. It is very helpful.

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