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10 Online Scams That Target Small Businesses

        Money | Scams

1
Malware
The worst online scams involve ones that compromise the information of a business and its owners and employees. © Simon Chavez/dpa/Corbis
The worst online scams involve ones that compromise the information of a business and its owners and employees. © Simon Chavez/dpa/Corbis

This one isn't a scam, per se, but it's often the result of many of the cons we've been discussing. Scammers can directly cheat businesses out of money and information, and they can also do it indirectly through placing viruses on a company's network.

A phishing scam, for example, can serve a double purpose. Getting business owners to click on a link in an email can lead them to a site where they'll type in sensitive personal information — and the link itself can insert a virus into the business's computers. Malware can also be disguised as a download in an email from someone you know. The contact doesn't have to come from an email, either: Scammers have been known to call people on the phone, claiming they're from Microsoft tech support or the help desk of an Internet provider, and ask for access to computer networks. If they're successful, the sky's the limit for what they can steal from you.