There is a downside to Entrepreneurship and running a business that we don’t always discuss.
Phishing attacks and scams!
Almost everyone is prone to being victimized, but more so Entrepreneurs.
Not only because scammers think we have a lot of money (which is often just a wrong assumption) but also because our details are often out there in public.
If you are working from home, then yes, you almost always don't have a choice but to reveal your home address.
It doesn’t help that in most countries, authorities require entrepreneurs to provide a physical mailing address. Not a POX Box, an actual address! There’s a solution; comment “Solution” below if you want to know.
I am not immune to Phishing attacks, but in the last year, I have seen many scammers contacting me on every social media and public email address I have.
They are also becoming more and more sophisticated.
Before, you could easily identify scammers because of the wrong grammar. But now, with ChatGPT as their accomplice, their messages are often flawless. (thanks, ChatGPT!)
Here are the top 5 Phishing attacks targeting entrepreneurs that I have encountered the past year alone:
1. Instagram page or Facebook Page violating community standards Phishing scam. This one is so rampant. The email or the direct message usually says that your Instagram or Facebook page violated Meta community standards and will be deactivated.
2. Your post violated Copyright Laws Phishing scam. Oh, this! I have to stop myself from replying, “What do you know about Copyright Laws, you M%R^%N!”
3. Your Ads Account will be disabled message Scam. This one almost got me because it was sent immediately after I published an Ad. Sneaky B⁴st#rds!
4. A message from an individual asking for details about your product and service with a link.
5. Trademark Scam or Company Registry Scam. A letter asking you to pay another fee is sent to your business address when you file a trademark application or register your company to the commercial registry or trade/company house. It looks so authentic because it copies the logo and letter of the government office involved.
So, How to Avoid Phishing Attacks? Here are things you can do to protect yourself and your business from these scams.
1. As a rule, do not click links on your emails. Unsolicited emails with links are almost always Phishing emails.
2. Double-check the sender. Not just the sender’s name; look at the actual email address! It is difficult for scammers to duplicate domain names. What they can do is make a similar one and hope you don’t see the difference. Well, if you inspect closely, you will see the difference!
Meta, or any reputable business, will never send you emails using a private account like this!
Even if the email sender looks authentic, don’t click unsolicited emails because of tip number 1.
3. A lot of these scammers uses Bots to scan your website for email address. If you can, write your public email address like this: xxx (at) domainname (dot) com. That way, it is more difficult to scrape your website.
4. Use double opt-in for your lead magnets! Some of these scammers enter your website through your opt-in pages and lead magnets. Using a double-opt-in mechanism makes it harder for them to send you unsolicited emails.
5. Educate your employees and VAs about phishing, hacking, and scams. Have a policy not to click links and to double-check with you before entertaining any letters soliciting money.
6. Double-check with the government agencies involved before paying weird invoices. Government agencies usually ask for payment outright before they process your request or application. This is true with trademark offices and trade offices.
So, if a letter asks for payment after your trademark or company details have been published, it’s most likely a scam.
7. When you receive these emails or letters, always report them as spam and block them! You can see photos of common Phishing scams and emails above. Study them.
The next time you are confronted with something similar, remember to THINK before you CLICK, and always err on the side of caution! FREE RESOURCE FOR YOU So, you want to build a coaching practice that supports your lifestyle? Check out this Legally Fluent® E-MAP Checklist on creating a practice to create leads and sales worldwide. You can access the checklist here.
Hi! I am Vena Verga-Danemar, an Onlinepreneur Legal Strategist. I am both a licensed lawyer and an Online Business Owner.
I helped dozens of my students legally start and grow their coaching business using a simplified strategy that doesn’t require spending all your time on your business 24/7. If you are a coach, course creator, or an online service-based business owner, I can help you.