Latest Con Artist Target – Small Businesses

By Paul B. Johnson
The High Point Enterprise, N.C.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Nearly two thirds of small businesses surveyed said their enterprises had been targeted by a scammer in the past three years, said Beverly Baskin, president of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

HIGH POINT

It’s enough of a challenge for small business entrepreneurs to turn a profit and make a go of it in a competitive business market — now con artists are trying to make it even more difficult.

Small business owners have become the latest target of scams across the nation and locally, according to a report released this week by the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB is partnering with state and federal agencies in an initiative called Operation Main Street: Stopping Small Business Scams. The effort will include an educational outreach to alert small businesses to the threat and protect them from con artists.

In the past year, the Better Business Bureau of Central North Carolina received reports of 21 Piedmont Triad small businesses who had scams aimed at them.

“None reported losing any money, but if scammers had been successful, they’d have gotten $13,644,” said Lechelle Yates, director of communications and investigations with the local BBB that covers the greater High Point area.

A small business owner out of Winston-Salem has faced several attempted swindles that she didn’t fall for, including one that falsely threatened to cut off electricity to her shop.

Bethany Miller, owner of Top Leaf Cigar Lounge, said she received a phone call from someone purporting to work for Duke Energy Corp.

The con artist told Miller that a utility worker was heading to her business to shut off the power for failure to pay her bill.

The caller gave Miller a phone number to dial immediately to provide a credit card or debit card number so the bill could be paid remotely and prevent the power cutoff.

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