Action Line Consumer Alert: Small Business Owners

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It may be April Fools’ Day, but small business owners need to watch out every day to be certain they don’t get fooled.

Some schemers go after individuals, but more and more businesses are becoming victims of schemes.

“Yeah, the majority of these scams are geared toward the small and medium business owners. We’re talking about businesses that employ two to upwards of 20 employees,” said Tim Caminos, Hawaii Better Business Bureau.

KHON2 asked Caminos if there are red flags that small business owners should be alert for.

“The most common red flag is when they say you can earn an incredible amount of money for little to no investment. And that’s the most common,” Caminos said.

What’s the motivation? Why would they target small business owners?

“Generally scammers are looking at these business owners because they know that these are entrepreneurs. These are people that are in the world trying to do different things to make money. So, they also have a little bit of their own collateral, so that’s why they’re going after these guys,” Caminos said.

Let’s face it… it takes a lot of gumption to be a small business owner these days.

“If you’re a small business owner, you’re willing to take these risks in order to reap the benefits and that’s why scammers target these small and medium business owners,” Caminos said.

Another favorite scheme is for someone to ask a business owner to help support a certain charity, youth group, or school.

“And so business owners have been duped that way. The best thing to do is, no matter who calls you, no matter what they say is to go back and do your homework. So, if they’re asking you to support a school, call the school directly and see if anyone is taking on this project,” Caminos said.

Small business owners should beware of the fake coupon book. You pay a small fee to get in the coupon book hoping to expand your business. KHON2 would show you one, but they don’t exist.

If you have a consumer problem or question, email or call (808) 591-0222 on weekdays from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.


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