How to spot common scams that businesses get targeted for

Written by Jade McAuley, Rebel Nation

Scam emails are one of those ongoing battles in the running of every business. Obviously scams in general are pretty crappy – people making money off someone by tricking them, stealing what they don’t deserve by betting they can bamboozle the other person.

While there are a range of business-specific scams that can occur, below are the email ones that we believe are the most common – and some hints on how to combat the charlatans.

SEO/Google rating

Even if you don’t have a website, you may still get targeted for this BS! It often comes in the form of someone offering to get you to the top of Google, or set you up with a must-have SEO package that you can’t survive without. The annoying thing is, for the second lot – some of them might actually be genuine. But sorting through the baddies to find goodies is potentially not worth the pain.

Tip > Always be wary of these ones. I delete them straight up but if one does sound like it could be legit, just forward it to a marketing or IT person that you trust to give it a once over. Also – there are lots of things you can do yourself for SEO, if you’re interested – let us know.

Domain names

I get this for business names too (sometimes even by post!) of people offering to sell me either a) the domain name I already own, or b) a domain name really similar to mine. Some of them even send an invoice for a domain name that is similar to yours – how ballsy is that?!?!

Tip > Check your previous domain name invoices to find out who your provider is. You should only pay for your domain name through one provider, and it will be set to recur on a regular basis (eg yearly, every two years etc). If you do want to get alternate domain names (eg you have the but want the .com), check with your current provider. You can choose who you purchase through, you don’t have to go with the provider who sends you unsolicited emails.

Hosting – all of it

Websites and emails need hosting – it’s like paying rent or rates, it’s a fee for the virtual space you take up. I don’t really get it with emails, but website hosting is a really common scam one – again, people sending actual invoices for website hosting when you’re already paying for it with another provider.

Tip > This is another one to check invoices for, if you are unsure who your provider is. If you are unsure, contact your marketing or IT person and they can check it out for you.

Your website in general

This type of swindler is becoming more active lately!! We know a number of businesses who have been targeted recently, where they were contacted by a digital marketing firm of some description and told that their website was missing things that are crucial for SEO (such as H1s, not making use of keyword hotspots etc). I’m not against other people reviewing our work at all, but when you flat out lie to someone to get their business – that’s pretty sad. Whether you made your website or you went to a professional, if someone is doing a free audit of your site – just remember what they are in it for.

Tip > Seek a second opinion. If someone tells you that your website isn’t working properly, you may not feel comfortable going back to your original provider – in case they have done the wrong thing, and you’re worried they’ll cover it up. But you can always seek out another web developer and ask for help – IT peeps can sometimes know about this stuff too.

If you do get stuck or are uncertain, please give us a shout before you go agreeing to anything or laying down any dollars. Whether you are a Rebel client or not, we don’t want to see anyone get ripped off – so we’re happy to help if we can.