There’s a new scam going around that’s targeting small businesses. It starts with a letter from someone claiming to be from the “negotiations department” of a large company. The letter says that the company is interested in using the small business’s products or services, and they would like to negotiate a contract.
The letter looks official, and it’s easy to see how someone could be taken in by it. However, there are several red flags that businesses should be aware of. For one thing, the grammar and syntax in the letter are often poor. The scammer may also refuse to provide contact information for the “negotiations department” or for the company they claim to represent.
If you receive one of these letters, do not respond to it. Contact your local Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce to report it, and then throw the letter away.
How the Scam Works
Here’s how the scam works: The fake negotiation letter is sent to a small business owner, usually via email. The email looks like it’s from a legitimate company, and it has all of the trappings of a professional correspondence. The scammer may even use the real logo of the company they’re pretending to represent.
The email says that the company is interested in using the small business’s products or services, and they would like to negotiate a contract. The email includes a document that looks like an official contract, and it asks the small business owner to sign and return it.
Once the contract is signed, the scammer will ask for an upfront payment for some reason – usually for “insurance,” “taxes,” or “shipping and handling.” They may also ask for sensitive financial information, such as bank account numbers or Social Security numbers. If the business owner pays the fee or provides their financial information, they will never hear from the scammers again.
If you receive a letter from someone claiming to be from a company’s negotiation department, do not respond to it. This is a scam that’s designed to prey on unsuspecting business owners. If you receive one of these letters, contact your local Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce to report it, and then throw it away. Don’t let scammers take advantage of your business – stay informed and be on the lookout for red flags!