Small businesses are big targets for scammers. The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission are warning mom and pop shops to beware. A new report finds scams targeting them are on the rise, and small business owners can lose way more than larger corporations.
Child's Play Toys in Downtown Sioux Falls has just about everything, but owner Nancy Savage says her store is really selling memories.
"Nothing makes me happier than when you see a little one come in the door and their face just lights up," Savage said.
Even owning a business with stuff for kids isn't kid stuff. Savage has to not only keep the store secure, she has to be mindful of cyber security and scammers.
"Somebody who had called and was selling advertising for table toppers for some local restaurants," Savage said.
The caller seemed local, and earned Savage's trust.
"I was to the point where I almost gave him my credit card," Savage said.
Good thing she didn't, because it was a scam. Jessie Schmidt says Savage isn't alone. Based on the report, six percent of small businesses lose money to scams every year. The average amount is more than $4,300.
"That could be a quarter's profit for them," Schmidt said.
The report aims to warn small businesses and show owners what to watch out for. The thieves may use social media, phone calls, or even hack into your email system to get you.
"How do they do that? Most of our websites have our names and links to our emails, right? They may send a bogus email they may send a phishing email," Schmidt said.
Savage is glad she did her research, because she says it's easy for anyone to become a wind-up toy in someone's scheme.
"Be cautious and double check, you know, before you actually do something," Savage said.
Savage says a big clue helped her realize the caller was trying to dupe her. The phone number kept changing when he would call her, and it would appear like the calls were coming from local organizations. To see the full report, visit this website.
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