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Simple Steps to Keep your Business Safe from Fraud

Here at Access Credit Management we strive to provide our readers with useful advice and information that will benefit their business. Here in the UK a massive 99% of businesses are in the SME category so we really are a nation of business owners. As any business owner will know, launching and managing your own business, whatever sector you’re in, involves dedication and hard work and keeping your business afloat in these times of economic uncertainty can prove to be challenging to say the least. So many of Britain’s SMEs become insolvent and it’s predicted that the number doing so will rise in the coming months as a result of the shock Brexit vote in June. Today we’re looking at ways for small business owners to avoid being hit by fraud and the damage it can do to your business.

Always be wary when dealing with newly established companies and new accounts.  A new client placing a large order as their first order should be thoroughly checked out before doing business.

Check that the company has a website and that it looks genuine (perform a WHOIS lookup to find the name of the person who registered the domain name too).  If the website looks tacky or unprofessional with badly written copy and lots of spelling or grammatical errors, be wary.  Any company that is serious about its business will have invested in having a professional quality website developed and great website copy by a professional copywriter.

Use a recognised credit reference agency to thoroughly check out any company or individual with whom you’re doing business.  If the company has submitted accounts to Companies House then make sure that you check that the dates match and that the accountancy firm that submtte4d the accounts actually does exist.

Make sure that any paperwork you ask for is the original and not a fax or photocopy – never accept a hand-written fax order for goods.

Ask for Trade References and then call the numbers supplied and ask for information.  Google Map the business to check that it exists and it’s a good idea to get in touch with any neighbouring businesses to ask how long the company has been there.

When following up a Trade Reference ask the types of questions that cannot be answered from a set script, such as:

  • Have you worked with this company at any of its previous addresses?
  • How well do you know this company?
  • Has the company changed its trading name?

Check with the landlord of the company’s premises to confirm the length of occupancy.

Fraudsters seem to favour a particular style of business name – be wary of any which contain the words Euro, Worldwide, Wholesale, International, Trading and Distribution.

Check the email addresses of your contacts at the company.  Fraudsters rarely have company email addresses and will usually use Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail accounts for email.  If this is the case, be suspicious.