Scammers are not “friends” to small business owners

by | May 4, 2017 | Business, Security

used with permission from the FTC, by Rosario Méndez

Scammers try to contact people in many ways. They call, email, put ads online, send messages on social media and more. If you own a small business, they’re trying to contact you, too.

Lately we’ve been hearing about scammers who reach out to small businesses through Facebook messages. People have reported receiving messages on Facebook telling them that they’re eligible for – or that they’ve won – a business grant. If you get a message like this through your personal Facebook account or on your company’s page, don’t respond. It’s a scam. The government won’t contact you on social media to offer you money.

Some business owners responded to the messages because they appeared to be from a “friend.” Know this: scammers can spoof social media messages to make them look like they’re coming from someone you know or have done business with.  Some fake messages directed people to send a text to “confirm” their “business grant.” Don’t do it. The scammer is only trying to get your cell phone number. If that happens, you can count on hearing from them again – and again and again

Before you respond to a message on social media about a small business grant, consider these facts:

  • The government won’t contact you through social media to offer you money.
  • Real government grants don’t require that you pay first. Stay away from any deal that makes you pay to get your “business grant.”
  • If someone tells you they need your passwords to give you a “business grant,” they’re just trying to hack into your accounts to steal your money or impersonate you so they can scam others.
  • If the only way to communicate with the person offering you a “business grant” is through social media or text, that’s a red flag for a scam.

Here’s another important step you can take to protect your business:  Warn your employees about this scam – especially anyone who helps out with your company’s Facebook account.

Find out more about government grant scams and imposter scams and report them to the FTC if you see one.