The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Monday that it has launched Operation Main Street, an effort with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and law enforcement to educate small business owners on how to stop scams targeting their businesses.
According to FTC, the law enforcement actions in Operation Main Street involved defendants that tricked businesses into paying for materials they can get free – or paying for expensive license renewals that were not due.
In other schemes, the defendants sent unordered merchandise and intimidated employees to pay for office supplies that no one in the business had ordered (or wanted). In one FTC case, the defendants used robocalls to contact business owners, claiming to be affiliated with Google, said FTC.
The defendants lied, saying the business would not show up on Google searches unless it paid for the defendants’ so-called services.
The BBB’s new research report gives data about the frauds that are directed at small business, and helps empower small business owners and employees to speak up and report fraud.