OwlTree Web Solutions company logo

Small Businesses Be Aware - Avoid Online Scams

10 September 2018

Scam graphic

Avoid Online Scams

As a business owner you will no doubt be busy; very busy. Busy taking care of your customers, busy with your marketing, your finances and your employees to name a few. The last thing you need is to be scammed by online criminals.

But business scams do happen and small and medium sized business are increasingly in the criminals' cross hairs.

Scams have always happened but the internet gives more opportunity than ever before to fraudsters, especially when their potential victims might not be quite so aware of the threats.


Probably the best known of all online scams. Someone contacts you asking for money with the promise of huge returns for an upfront payment. A scam - one which most of us would recognise.

However, phishing scams are becoming much more sophisticated and businesses are being tricked into handing over large sums of money.

Imagine this. You work in accounts and your boss goes on holiday. While he’s away, you get an email from ‘him’ saying that he forgot to make a payment before he left. He asks you to pay it, perhaps even including an invoice, and you gladly oblige. This is known as CEO fraud – impersonating senior figures in a business to dupe its employees.

Criminals also impersonate legitimate suppliers, hoping that you’ll fall victim to paying their ‘invoice’.

Before doing anything, check email addresses and other identifiers to make sure you’re dealing with bona fide sources. Also consider not announcing to the world when you go away!

Malware and ransomware

Not technically a scam but an unprotected PC, phone or network can help criminals wreak havoc. Keyloggers give hackers easy access to your passwords. Ransomware enables hackers to lock to your system and delete files should a ransom payment not be made.

The importance of good antivirus software, firewalls and installing the latest security updates cannot be overstated.


Prevention is always better than cure so taking a cautious approach will help to keep your business safe. With that in mind, here are some tips to keep your business safe.

1. Don't send money unless you're absolutely sure it’s bona fide.

2. Always install the latest security patches.

3. Ensure that your antivirus, antimalware and firewall software is up to date.

4. Don’t reuse passwords across multiple sites and systems.

5. Keep passwords safe – and encourage employees to do the same.

6. Always check links and email sender/recipient addresses carefully.