Financial Fraud Protection Kalispell MT
General Practice, Litigation
University of Montana
Protect Yourself from Financial Fraud
Tips for the Self-Employed
By Christopher J. Bachler
The first rule for home businesses and boxers is the same: “Always keep your guard up.” That’s because fraud in the business world today is more common than ever before. Advanced technology, the “shrinking world,” and the ongoing growth of a “virtual economy” are all partly to blame. Identities are easy to steal, and fortunes may be made or lost with a few keystrokes. Scammers can strike with impunity from any part of the globe, even from countries that have no extradition treaties with the United States.
Along with identity theft and online fraud, honest businesspeople need to watch for investment fraud, telephone fraud, and even work-at-home scams. That’s why small businesspeople need to be aware of these growing perils, familiar with the most common schemes, and know how to protect themselves.
Hearing so much about “cyber attacks” and identity theft, it’s hard to imagine that any peril could be greater. But for the typical small businessperson, there is actually a greater chance of being taken by those we know than by those we don’t.
If you’re stung by a customer, it will most likely be through some form of payment fraud. If they simply won’t pay, you can take them to court. But suppose the fraud is bigger and more complex? Suppose you receive a bad check, for instance. Check fraud is actually on the rise, due mainly to the capability of today’s computers and printers to produce authentic-looking checks. Identity thieves might even be using bogus bank accounts.
· Serial numbers lower than 200.
· Poor print quality
· A lack of bank information or clear account numbers
· No perforated edges (other than government checks)
· Signatures that are hard to read or don’t fit properly in the space provided
· Newly issued
Also beware of buyers who use cards with which they don’t seem to be familiar, or who pull the card from a pocket instead of a wallet. Another scam is known as “bust out fraud.” These individuals start out paying their bills on time. Once they gain the seller’s confidence, they will gradually increase their purchases until they make a large purchase, and then fail to pay. They might simply disappear, or file for bankruptcy.
· Be careful about extending credit to new customers.
· Check out a customer’s credit history before granting credit.
· Watch for customers who incrementally buy more on credit.
· Establish firm credit limits.
· Avoid buyers who don’t provide home or business addresses.
Always seek payment as soon as possible following service, and before you do more w...