Thursday, July 18, 2013

Scammers Still Stealing from Businesses

Some people have nothing to do all day but to dream up ways to obtain money or goods by deception ... your money. Many of these people are very smart and have good resources to apply to their criminal ways. If you aren't alert, you could fall victim to one of these scammers.

One common scam that has been very successful involves scammers sending a subscription form to a firm asking that they renew their subscription to a magazine, service or membership to which the firm has never been a member.

It's a one page professional-looking fax or letter complete with subscription block and payment details. Accounts payable staff inadvertently assume it is one of the many organisations to which the firm subscribes and sends off a cheque or makes an online deposit.

If the scammers provide a service, no matter how small it is, then it's unlikely a criminal offence has been committed because an offer was made and accepted. As with any commercial transaction, it is legal. If a service is not provided, it would need to be proven that the intention of the offender at the time of taking the money, was not to provide the service, to establish a criminal offence.

These people are very hard to convict. Because of the relatively small amounts of money scammed from individual firms, none of the firms bothers with legal action and simply write it off as misfortune, if they ever become aware of being scammed.

How to Beat the Scammers

In a properly functioning accounting system, there should be two or three people involved in every purchase. There should be a purchase order or staff with credit cards empowered to spend on behalf of the firm. By having proper checks and balances, these type scam can be avoided.

When documents arrive claiming subscriptions need to be renewed, someone should check the accounting system to see whether there is in fact an account for the firm claiming to be a subscriber and if so, the persons using the service should be asked if it is okay to renew the subscription.

Simply paying on receipt of a subscription renewal notice is lazy and a recipe for losing money. Don't get caught out like many others whose accounting systems are inefficient and ineffective.

If you have time, visit Scambusters and inform yourself about the hundreds of different scams and how to protect yourself from being ripped off.


1 comment:

  1. Good article. Looking at the Scambusters site, there is many ways scammers try to steal or money. WE must always be careful of scammers.


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