There are many things you need to consider as a C-store owner or operator to ensure the business runs smoothly, from your product mix offering to ensuring your inventory is fully stocked. However, one important thing that is often overlooked, is educating and protecting yourself and your employees on current scams. It may seem like it's easy to detect fraud but fraudsters are persistent and clever and are constantly evolving their techniques. In fact, 34% of Canadians have fallen victim to fraud last year, with many stating that it's hard to detect fraud as these fraudsters are very convincing in imitating legitimate companies.*
C-store owners work very hard to grow their business, so when they are hit with fraud, there are various impacts. It's not only the financial losses, but it also adds a lot of unneeded stress and uncertainty. That is why it is imperative to educate yourself and your employees on ways to protect yourself and your business. Below is a list of three common scams and the steps you need to take to insure your business is protected from fraud:
Telephone Scams: a scam that occurs when a fraudster calls your store and impersonates a legitimate company that you work with such as a supplier. They will appear as if they know you and your business, and will usually call you at busy times to make you feel rushed. They will ask you for sensitive information pertaining to your business.
How to protect yourself: Hang up! Once you are no longer busy, find the number to the company from a legitimate source like a secured website, and call them to verify the earlier call.
Phishing and Smishing Scams: both these scams are very much the same but unlike phishing scams which are done through email, smishing scams are done through text. In both cases, the fraudster tries to trick you into giving out personal information such as your bank account numbers, passwords, and credit card numbers by disguising themself as a trusted entity.
How to protect yourself: Do not click on any links or open attachments claiming to be from a trusted organization. Delete the message and do not respond. As an extra precaution download anti-malware onto your device.
Computer Software/Product Update Scams: this scam occurs when a fraudster contacts a merchant claiming that their Point of Sale system is out of date, and requires a product update or new software download.
How to protect yourself: Hang up, and call your provider to inform them of this call. They will inform you if a system update is needed.
As a business owner, it is important to keep informed on the latest scams that can affect your business, and educate your employees on fraud prevention. The best advice to follow is to never give information away on the phone. Hang up and call the legitimate company directly. It is always better to be safe than deal with potential financial losses.
If you have experienced fraudulent activity as a retailer or consumer, stay calm and report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.