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10 Online Scams That Target Small Businesses

        Money | Scams

2
False Invoices
Some scammers take advantage of the overwhelming amount of legitimate bills involved in business and try to slip in a fake one. © Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Corbis
Some scammers take advantage of the overwhelming amount of legitimate bills involved in business and try to slip in a fake one. © Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Corbis

This is another age-old scam that has gotten a new life online, and it's probably the simplest of any item on this list. These scammers don't have to advertise, send spam or set up bogus classes or publications. All they do is send fake invoices to a bunch of small businesses (often for office supplies), sit back and wait for the money to roll in.

You might think that large corporations might be better targets for this scam — the more people, departments and moving parts involved in invoice processing, the more could slip through the cracks. Plus, some big companies have so much money that a few hundred dollars here and there would hardly be missed. But they also have trained accountants, safeguards and legal teams. Fake invoicers prey on small businesses with low security, less legal power and accountants who are overworked and perhaps not professionally trained. The success rate doesn't have to be great — if the scammers get only a few checks, it's well worth the effort for doing almost nothing.


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