Scams to Avoid!

Company Name Fraud

This is repeatedly reported with traditional virtual offices. You failed to insist your client’s checks are made payable to Your Company, LLC. Your client sends a check to “Your Company” (note, no LLC). The individual who opened the envelop takes the check to a bank, opens a business account in the name, “Your Company”, and later cashes the check. Your client says they paid. The guilty party made one quick search for “Your Company” which does not generate such an entity existing as a company and makes, in known instances, a big, untraceable cash sum. On your invoices, tell your clients to put your full, legal company name on their check.

Keeping the Computer Scam

You hire a remote-working employee and provide a nice, new laptop computer and, maybe, a top of the range cell phone. Your contract of employment does not specify that the employee must return all your company property before receiving their final paycheck. You send a check; they refuse to return the computer.

Rolling Contract

Picture this. You interview a sales representation company – and they are really good salespeople. You appoint them to represent you for a year. They charge $10,000 a month for their services on a rolling twelve-month contract. They do nothing except send you invoices. To get rid of them costs twelve times $10,000 = $120,000. If they have ten clients, they are making $1.2 million a year – for doing nothing except selling to people like you.

Sales Blocking

You sign with an agent, reseller, distributor and agree they have territorial exclusivity. You are optimistic because they obviously know your business and markets. They have a competitive product and do nothing for you. They simply want to prevent other sales organizations from being able to compete with your products. Always have pre-agreed sales targets which, if not met, give you the right to terminate the agreement.

Sales Executive Scam

You hire a $60,000 a year sales executive who persuades you to let them work from home. You don’t expect them to make a lot of sales in the first three months, but when they have sold nothing, you start to worry. A few discrete inquires reveal they have done nothing, but they do have three or four similar jobs. They are making, maybe, $240,000 a year and have plenty of time to search for other victim employers.

Sales Lead Theft

Say your US company is ABC LLC. A competitor (or disgruntled ex-employee) asks someone in your company to immediately send all future incoming sales leads and inquiries to them. They may telephone or fake an email address at www.ABC.com.

According to contacts known to us in the US, if the scam works, they will soon ask for copies of all sales inquiries received in past months to be sent to them.

Does it work? Apparently, it has worked for more than one company. If they are an ExportAction client, we would refer the “scam artist” to request our client at UK headquarters for confirmation it is OK to share the information. We understand from local US contacts this scam is on a steep growth curve. ExportAction will not share customer or prospect information without prior authorization.

Visas

Clients of ExportAction have seen Visa application scams on both sides of the Atlantic. A so-called specialist visa attorney charges $5,000 (or more) to make a US visa application for you. After a while (24 months in our experience), they write saying your visa application has been declined. You ask for your money back, but they say they have done the work! Huh!

If you plan to visit the US and do not have an ESTA, or other authorization, go to https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta. The cost is $14.00. Do not go to similar looking (but commercial) web sites which may charge as much as $80.00.