Posted November 27, 2017
With the great number of small businesses in Australia, including roughly 22,000 salons across the hair and beauty industry, bad people are looking to take advantage of busy salon owners who may not be right on top of their business.
A member came to HABA recently showing us an instance where they were being asked to register their business on the Australian Business Pages Directory. The tone of the email suggested that this was much like registering for an ABN – necessary for the business and necessary to practice in Australia, which is absolutely untrue. From a different member, we found out that there is a second part this scam, whereby the Australian Business Pages Directory will send you a renewal notice for your business listing – even if the business has never been registered with them before. They have even been caught out for dodgy practices previously after reports to the ACCC and court proceedings in 2009 – but the scam continues to run and continues to catch out small business owners.
These kind of “False Billing” scams are quickly rising as one of the biggest scams facing businesses in particular according to ScamWatch, the ACCC’s Scam Watchdog. Often these are the most difficult to pick up on as they look like they are from a legitimate business, and often they have been personalised using your name or your business name as they attempt to scam you out of your hard-earned money.
We understand that many business owners have listings for their business across different sites and platforms, and sometimes it can be hard to keep track, with WOMO, TrueLocal, Yellow Pages and local business directories being just some of the places that a standard salon would list their services. But salon owners should always be aware of what services they use to promote their business, as this will ultimately save you heartache at the end.
The simple answer in these cases is to double check everything – don’t assume that because someone comes to you with what looks like a legitimate request for money, that everything is as it appears. Look through your salon records and check whether you signed up for this service. Google your business regularly to see where your business listings are, what they look like and to make sure that companies aren’t creating false profiles for your business without your permission. And as with your personal banking, never give away your credit card details online if you aren’t offered an option for secure checkout, like eWay or Paypal.
If you have a similar story to our HABA members above, we would love to hear from you to share your experience. Knowledge truly is power, and if HABA knows about a particular scam making the rounds with salon owners, not only can we share it with our members to prevent anyone else falling victim, but we can advise our members who have gotten themselves caught out on how to best proceed. HABA is always here to help protect our members, no matter where the attacks may come from.
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