“Operation Main Street” is a new joint effort to alert small businesses to scams designed to defraud them and offer tips to avoid being scammed. The effort is a combined one including Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, along with 11 other attorneys general, the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau and other agencies.
There are nearly 1 million small businesses in Pennsylvania, and small businesses employ 2.4 million workers across the commonwealth – 47.3 percent of the private sector labor workforce.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy across our commonwealth, and my Bureau of Consumer Protection does whatever it takes to protect them from being scammed,” Shapiro said. “If you’re a small business and you think you’ve been scammed, I want to hear from you. Call us, email us – we’re here to protect you. I’m proud to partner with a bipartisan group of attorneys general, the FTC and others on this important action.”
Shapiro encouraged small businesses to email firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 441-2555 to report any scam perpetrated upon their business.
In Pennsylvania, Shapiro warned small businesses to beware of these scams:
- Non-Order Scam – Scammers attempt to charge and collect from small businesses for toner, light bulbs, cleaner or other supplies which the businesses never ordered.
- Imposter Scam – Scammers impersonate the government or another public entity to try to trick small businesses into paying for licenses or registrations they do not need.
- Fake Invoice Scam – Scammers send fake invoices to small businesses to deceive them into paying for merchandise or services they did not receive.
The Better Business Bureau issued a scam report that surveyed 1,200 small businesses nationwide. The results show that 67 percent of respondents believe there is a growing number of scammers targeting small businesses.
“Scams are a significant – and growing – problem for small businesses,” said Beverly Baskin, president and CEO, Council of Better Business Bureaus. “Nearly two-thirds of those we surveyed 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.”
“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.
In addition to Shapiro, the effort was joined by attorneys general from Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.