Every year businesses lose millions of dollars to con games and fast-talking promoters through a wide variety of different schemes. But, businesses can protect themselves if they are constantly wary of schemers. Use common sense in all your business dealings. Clearly, not all strange sales or promotions represent schemes against businesses, but ask questions of unfamiliar service or sales personnel, telephone promoters or charity appeals. A business, which gathers all the facts, should be able to separate the scheme from the honest transaction.
If you are in doubt about a business proposition, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) provides the following suggestions:
- Refuse to make commitments with unknown persons, especially over the telephone. Ask that all advertising propositions, charitable appeals, requests for biographical information, and sales pitches of any type be made in writing.
- When dealing with publications, insist on verifiable circulation figures, details of publication dates, name(s) of publishers, number of paid subscribers, and sample copies.
- Institute strict controls in the accounting department. The handling of invoices, for example, should be centralized and authorization should be closely checked.
- Keep a list of regularly used publications as protection against schemers who claim that your company previously has used the publication.
- When asked to donate to various causes, find out the full name, address, and purpose of the charity and ask for a copy of the organization's latest financial statements. Make checks payable to the charity itself, not to an individual solicitor.
- Compare the prices and quality of products with other suppliers if you are offered a deal from an unknown salesperson.
If a possible con artist approaches your employees, if you want to find out more about a certain business proposition, or if you have a complaint, always contact the BBB.