20 Jan Don’t let scammers get a hold of your business
Now that we work from home more frequently and that the acceleration of digitalisation is continuing, we are noticing an increase in the number of fraud cases. Think of the large number of phishing e-mails that are circulating. But what is fraud and how can you, as an entrepreneur, protect yourself against it? Fraud is defined as a deliberate act by one or more persons, whereby deception is used to obtain an illegal advantage. By entering into a business relationship with such a person, you can lose a significant amount of money and potentially damage your reputation. Save yourself from this misery and know who you are doing business with. How? Find out more in the course of this article.
Three types of fraud to look out for as an entrepreneur
Scammers can have an impact on your business in many ways. Below, we list some of the most important ones.
Fraud through the Belgian Official Gazette
In some companies, scammers grant themselves false mandates which they have published in the Belgian Official Gazette. With this official but fraudulent publication, the fraudsters can go to the bank and withdraw everything from the company’s account. You are probably wondering: “How is this possible? The Belgian Official Gazette is facing a serious problem in verifying the authenticity of these publications, especially the authenticity of the signature.
Do you want to be one step ahead of scammers?
Monitor your own company to stay informed of all changes concerning the management and the statutes of your company. Whenever a change of mandate occurs, you can quickly verify its authenticity and, if necessary, reverse it before it is too late.
This type of fraud takes place when scammers intercept an invoice and change the account number on it. The recipient of this invoice is often unaware of any wrongdoing and pays the account stated on the invoice. Only after receiving a reminder, the recipient notices the fraud.
What should you look out for in order to prevent invoice fraud?
Compare the account number on the invoice with the number on the order form. If you notice a sticker on the invoice saying ‘Careful, changed account number’, always check with your business partner to make sure that it is genuine. Invoice via e-mail? Check if the e-mail address is correct.
Bankruptcy fraud is when the entrepreneur lets its company go bankrupt after he has deliberately incurred debts, for example. By the time the creditors claim bankruptcy through courts, the scammers have already diverted their money. As a result, the creditors can no longer claim this money. In addition, the scammers use the bankruptcy to free themselves of debt. This means that they are exempt from paying their outstanding debts. Creditors can therefore assume that they will never see the amount owed.
How to recognise bankruptcy fraud
- Does the board of directors consist of several directors who already have a bankruptcy linked to their name? If this is the case, it is the first red flag and it is recommended to take a closer look at the company.
- Does the head office change its address regularly?
- Are there any peculiarities in the company’s financial statements, such as abnormal growth of permanent assets?
- Is the company located at an address where many other active and bankrupt companies are located, but it is not a business park?
- Does your business partner have the necessary approvals to carry out his activity?