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How To Handle Phone Scams – Help For Startups

In the bustling world of startups, founders and their teams are constantly juggling multiple responsibilities. Between ensuring the product is just right, managing financial constraints, building a brand, and addressing the needs of stakeholders, the workload can be overwhelming.

This chaotic environment creates a fertile ground for errors in judgement, especially when it comes to mundane tasks like handling phone calls. Unfortunately, scammers are all too aware of these vulnerabilities, leading many startups to inadvertently fall for phone scams.

Imagine you’re in the midst of an important decision, and your phone rings with a seemingly vital query or offer. It’s tempting to believe the caller, especially when they seem to have intimate knowledge of your business or industry. However, blindly trusting unknown numbers can be a treacherous misstep. Consider this: 08004089340 is a number used by Virgin Media, a detail that might seem innocuous at first.

But if you were unaware of this and received an unexpected call from this number with the person on the other end claiming to be from, say, a government agency or a different company altogether, you might be lured into a scam. Verifying unknown phone numbers before you answer or call them back is essential not just for maintaining personal security, but also for safeguarding the interests of your startup.

But how can startups ensure they stay vigilant and prevent falling prey to these deceptive tactics? Here are some steps:

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  1. Train Your Team: Knowledge is power. Ensure that all members of your team, especially those who have direct phone interaction with external entities, are well-versed with common phone scam tactics. Regular training sessions can keep everyone updated and on their toes.
  2. Implement a Caller ID System: Use a reliable caller ID system that can identify and flag potential spam calls. Some of these systems even have a feature to automatically block numbers that are identified as suspicious.
  3. Use Verification Tools: There are online platforms and apps that allow you to input a phone number and get detailed information about its legitimacy. Whenever in doubt, use these tools to double-check before taking any action based on a phone call.
  4. Never Share Sensitive Information: Make it a policy to never share sensitive business information over the phone unless you’re absolutely sure of the caller’s identity. This includes bank details, company secrets, employee information, and more.
  5. Document and Report: If you suspect that you’ve received a scam call, make a note of the details – the number, the time of call, the content of the conversation, and any other relevant details. Report this to the appropriate authorities. In many countries, there are dedicated helplines or online portals for reporting such scams.
  6. Stay Updated on Common Scams: Scammers are always evolving their tactics. Stay updated on common phone scams by regularly checking trustworthy security blogs, websites, or even news outlets that cover such topics.
  7. Trust Your Instincts: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always trust your gut feeling. If a call feels off or the caller is pressuring you into making a decision quickly, take a step back and re-evaluate.

In conclusion, while the dynamic environment of startups offers numerous challenges and distractions, phone scams shouldn’t be one of them. By being vigilant, educating your team, and using the right tools and practices, you can protect your startup from the potential pitfalls of deceptive calls. Always remember, while opportunity might come calling, so might deceit. It’s up to you to differentiate between the two.

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Get the latest news, resources and tips to help you and your small business succeed.