Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman announced that Colorado businesses have new anti-fraud resources available on her office’s stopfraudcolorado.gov website.
“Legitimate businesses can be targeted by fraudulent and deceptive schemes just as easily as individual consumers,” said Coffman in a news release. “Some scams, like phony invoices, bogus classified advertising and corporate filing schemes have been around for decades. More recently, businesses are being targeted by identity thieves and patent trolls.”
The “It’s Your Business” page on stopfraudcolorado.gov offers information and resources on a variety of topics, including business identity theft, data breaches, fraudulent invoice scams and patent assertion fraud. The site also provides advice on protecting customers’ personal and financial information, working with the Colorado Secretary of State and other practical business resources.
Some simple things business operators can do to protect customer information include:
· Collect and store a limited amount of personal and financial information; retain only what is necessary to conduct your business;
· Limit access to such information to those employees who absolutely must use it as part of their job; and
· Have a written policy in place (it’s required by law) to dispose of business records containing this information.
Phony invoice scams are used to collect payment for unauthorized goods or services:
· Advertising – Directory and Phone Book Fraud: Digital and print advertising.
· Communication Services: Networking and telecom services, including domain registrations and renewals.
· Equipment Maintenance Contracts: Contracts associated with all facets of your business.
· Office Supplies: Copy paper, general office supplies and toner.
Businesses should train their staff to compare every invoice against an actual order form. If any questions arise, contact the originating party directly from established contact information, not from contact information contained on the suspect invoice.
“Our hope is that businesses will use these new resources to avoid becoming victims of these common scams and that they will continue to report any new scams they see so that we can investigate,” said Attorney General Coffman.
Businesses that believe they have been the victim of fraud or wish to report suspicious activity may file a report here or may call 1-800-222-4444.