You pour everything you have into your salon business – your money, your time, your skillset and your experience. You make a tonne of sacrifices, and it makes sense that you want to protect it as best you can. That’s why you need to be aware of scams doing the rounds, to ensure your salon doesn’t fall victim.
Unauthorised advertising scam
A scammer will call you or send you an invoice regarding an advertisement or listing in a publication. The invoice may be for an advertisement you didn’t order, for a publication that doesn’t exist, using details of an advertisement you previously ordered, presented as a “free trial” to list your business in their publication but may have hidden fees. This type of scam is also referred to as a ‘false billing scam’.
Under Australian Consumer Law, publishers must get written authorisation from businesses before placing advertisements.
“Scammers may quite a genuine entry or advertisement you placed in a different publication or directory,” says a representative from Consumer Affairs Victoria. “Always check the invoice is for a publication you authorised.”
Computer repair scam
The scammer may call you directly, or respond to an online advertisement that appears when you search for technical support. You are told that there is a virus on your computer that will cause the loss of stored information if not repaired immediately.
The scammer offers to fix the problem and directs you to a website to click on a link that will give them access. This means they can steal private information such as bank details, user names and passwords. The scammers may also try to get money from you, asking you for a fee to fix the problem or to buy software from their website. The software may not exist, or could give the scammer remote access to your computer.
“Be cautious when searching online for technical support – before you agree to any services, thoroughly research the company,” says the CAV representative. “You could also search the computer or software supplier’s website for authorised service providers.”
Bogus government scam
The scammer pretends to be from a government department, bank or well-known organisation and tries to trick you into paying them money. Scammers may present themselves as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Centrelink, police, energy and water companies or other well-known organisations.
The scammer may email you, suggesting you have unclaimed tax returns. They suggest you need to pay a processing fee to release the funds and may ask for your bank account details to claim a tax rebate. Alternatively, the camera may insist you owe the government money and that if you don’t pay it immediately, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
“Be wary of any letter or email from a government agency, especially one that asks you to pay money or provide bank details. Scammers often copy government logos and letter formats. The copied logos may appear with pixels or be blurry or a slightly different colour,” says the CAV representative.
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