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Building a business is hard: losing it to fraud is devastating

(NC) Scam artists would love to get their hands on your hard-earned money and that of your employees. Developing an anti-fraud action plan is a must-do for any business at risk for falling prey to online, telephone or door-to-door scam artists, which these days is just about every business.

The Competition Bureau is encouraging businesses to join the fight against fraud this March as part of Fraud Prevention Month. Being proactive and aware of the dangers will not only help stop fraud – it will also protect your bottom line.

In a nutshell, here's your anti-fraud plan. Be sure to share it with your employees:

Recognize it: Fraudsters are sophisticated and creative, so questioning the legitimacy of every inquiry – no matter how official it may appear to be – is a good policy to have in place. Be ever vigilant and on the lookout. Scammers are finding new and innovative ways every day to rip people off so be suspicious of any deals that sound too good to be true, especially ones online. Telemarketers are getting some tough competition from social media and Internet scammers.

Report it: It's important to have trained and vigilant staff who are cautious and who know how to recognize and report suspected fraudulent activity. Fraudulent or suspicious activity can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca or 1-888-495-8501 or the Competition Bureau at www.competitionbureau.gc.ca or 1-800-348-5358.

Stop it: The Fraud Awareness for Commercial Targets (FACT) campaign is an outreach and education initiative of the Competition Bureau that provides businesses and not-for-profit organizations with the facts necessary to avoid becoming victims of fraud, which costs them millions of dollars annually. The bureau's website, at www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/fraud, has complete details outlining the FACT campaign, along with information about Fraud Prevention Month and other initiatives, including the Canadian edition of the Little Black Book of Scams, a must-read for every Canadian business owner.

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