Page 11 - Upper Peninsula Business Today -- July 2018
P. 11

BBB Partners with FTC, Law Enforcement for “Operation Main Street” To Stop Small Business Scams
Southfield, MI - June 21, 2018- The Better Business Bureau is partnering with state and fed- eral agencies on Operation Main Street: Stop- ping Small Business Scams, a law enforcement initiative targeting operations seeking to defraud small businesses, and an education out- reach effort to help small businesses protect themselves from fraud. BBB joined with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), eight state Attorneys General, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and two U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to launch the efforts.
The agencies announced a total of 24 actions involving defendants who allegedly perpetrated scams against small businesses, including one new FTC case, three other FTC actions from the past six months, two criminal actions announced by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 18 actions by state AGs over the past year.
The BBB announced a new research report, “Scams and Your Small Business,” that provides substantial new insights into how fraud affects small businesses. In addition, the FTC and the BBB announces new business education mate- rials, designed to help small business owners and their employees avoid, identify, and report scams.
“Millions of U.S. consumers either own or work at small businesses nationwide, and the FTC is happy to join with our law enforcement partners and the BBB to help stop scams and spread the word about how they can identify and avoid scams targeting their livelihood,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “A top FTC prior- ity is to stem the tide of fraud against small busi- nesses.”
“Scams are a significant - and growing - prob- lem for small businesses,” said Beverly Baskin, President and CEO, Council of Better Business Bureaus. “Nearly two thirds of those we sur- veyed said their business had been targeted by a scammer in the past three years, and many said that their businesses suffered a loss of consumer trust as a result. BBB is pleased to partner with the FTC to help small businesses spot and avoid scams and fraud.”
“The role of the state attorney general is not to second guess lawful business decisions. But when someone scams or defrauds a business, they should be held accountable. In doing so, we create an environment where all legitimate busi- ness owners can thrive,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
More information on the “Operation Main
Street” enforcement actions is available on the FTC’s website.
The BBB issued its “Scams and Your Small Business Research Report.” The report, which is available on the BBB’s website and in hard copy, is designed to educate and empower small busi- nesses to speak up and report fraud, enabling the BBB to expand its knowledge of how scams uniquely impact these consumers.
The report is based on results from a new sur- vey that was conducted in March 2018 by six local BBBs. It contains information from approximately 1,200 small businesses nation- wide.
Key results include:
67 percent of the respondents surveyed
believe there is a growing risk of scammers tar- geting small businesses, with only three percent believing that the risk has decreased over the past three years.
The top five scams identified as putting small businesses at risk are: 1) bank/credit card com- pany imposters; 2) directory listing and adver- tising services; 3) fake invoices/supplier bills; 4) fake checks; and 5) tech support scams.
38 percent of respondents believe that hear- ing generally about a particular type of scam is
the best way to proactively protect their busi- ness, followed by 35 percent who think the best way is to have generally heard about the meth- ods and behaviors of scammers.
The primary motivations for small businesses to report scams included helping to warn others about the scams, trying to bring justice to the scammer and trying to recover money lost through the scam.
Finally, as an important component of Oper- ation Main Street, the FTC and BBB issued co- branded materials that are available on their respective websites to help small businesses iden- tify and avoid potential scams.
About Better Business Bureau Serving Detroit & Eastern Michigan Better Business Bureau Serving Detroit & Eastern Michigan is a
non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting trust in the marketplace by assisting in the protection of consumers and businesses from fraud and unethical business practices. In addition to its recog- nized dispute resolution services, the BBB maintains online business reviews on the customer service history of more than 90,000 local busi- nesses and provides consumer education materials on numerous top- ics. The BBB provides its services free to the public and its service ter- ritory stretches across Eastern Michigan from Ann Arbor through Metropolitan Detroit, Lansing, Flint, upward to Alpena, and covers the entire Upper Peninsula of the state.

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