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How to protect your business from customer fraud

Many stories in the media concerning business fraud in Nevada typically depict a customer complaining that a company ripped him or her off somehow. While that may occur sometimes, business owners may become the victims of fraud themselves. For new or small businesses, money lost through deceit or theft could have a serious impact on the health of the company.

Fortunately, a few smart policy decisions can help minimize your risk of being the victim of fraud. Here are a few tips:

  • Be alert for bad checks. Some fraud schemes involve sending a phony cashier's check or business check, then calling the company asking for a refund. The check then bounces but the customer cannot be found. To avoid this, carefully inspect each check as it comes in and compare them to the corresponding invoices.
  • Take care with wire transfers. To avoid exposing your company's money to sophisticated criminals, consider setting up a separate bank account just to accept wired payments. That way, fraudsters will not have access to your main accounts' number and routing information.
  • Avoid sketchy business loan offers. The Internet is rife with offers to help finance your new business. Much of the time, this is a scam meant to get at your personal information to steal your identity. Instead, go to a reputable lender.
  • Look out for fake bills. Some scam artists will send a "bill" to a small business that the business did not incur. The fraudster will often begin calling and mailing the company threatening legal action until the "bill" is paid. Make sure that each bill you pay is legitimate.

Source: TIME, "Arresting Small Business Fraud," Lauren Simonds, May 17, 2013

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