Small Business Financing: Beware of Fake Invoicing Scams
Small business owners need to be careful; hackers and phishing scams that target them rely on a feeling of being too small to be on the radar to exploit unprepared small businesses, taking their repositories of financial and customer information and exploiting or liquidating them. One scam which has become more common of late is a trojan horse scheme, which refers to the technique of requesting a victim download a seemingly harmless attachment or program which in fact contains a virus, the “trojan” program contained within the outer guise of whatever it was the victim clicked on. Lately, the use of a false invoice to deliver trojan programs has become increasingly common as hackers awaken more and more to the value of targeting small businesses with spam leads and emails.
Fake invoicing schemes are increasingly common. Small business owners can often become overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork that they need to keep track of. Fake invoices rely on this confusion, submitting a seemingly “unpaid” invoice attached to the email for download. When business owners click the link, it can download harmful scripts on to their computers or redirect them to websites attempting to collect and misuse their information. By keeping up to date on the latest and most prevalent threats, small business owners can use knowledge to bolster their digital security efforts.
Tips for avoiding scams: Be aware of your debt obligations, so that when a fake invoice makes it through your spam filter, you can quickly establish that it is not authentic and flag it. If you have legitimate invoices winding up in your spam filter, you should indicate to your mail client that the address is not a spam address so that in the future it will clear your spam filter, making it so that you don’t have to dig through potentially fake invoices in order to find a legitimate one. While most of the time, a fake invoice will be apparent to you, the owner of your business, sometimes an employee who may not be aware of all the expenses being managed will be confused by a fake invoice and open it, which is what scammers rely on to spread their malware. Be clear with your staff that in the event that they receive an invoice they are not sure about, they should forward it to either yourself of your accounting manager to avoid having them accidentally download viruses or give up information to phishing scams.
Photo Credit to miguelb on Flickr