Protect Your Business from 4 Common Fraud Sources

5621813850_e45e5522e6Photo courtesy of Orange Sparrow

The news media is flooded on a regular basis with tragic stories about the victims of consumer fraud. On the flipside are the businesses that are also being taken advantage of – typically smaller to midsize companies with a lack of formality that is standard in larger corporations.

If you are a small business owner, you need to be aware that the number of fraudulent crimes against businesses are indeed increasing. In fact, 88% of small to midsize businesses in the United States have reported at least one instance of fraud. These companies have also shown to have a decline in their overall financial success, which makes the case for taking a closer look at what you can do to stay safe.

In order to safeguard your company from becoming a fraud victim, become more informed by taking steps to educate yourself about potential fraud sources and how to protect yourself and your business.

Insiders – Especially in small businesses, the relationships between business owners/bosses and employees is different than in large corporations. Because small-business owners typically entrust their employees to a fault, they unfortunately put their businesses at risk. In a 2009 survey carried out by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 76% of business fraud was performed by employees or someone who was an insider and familiar with company procedure.

Clients/customers – Theft is the most obvious source of fraud committed by customers, but there are actually many other ways in which clients and customers can perform fraud against a company. These include: using stolen credit cards, writing fraudulent checks, false return scams and false injury or ‘slip and fall’ claims.

Vendors/contractors – All too often, small-business owners are grossly overcharged by contractors for services, and many times, the services in question were either sub-par or not provided at all.

Hackers – Today, electronic fraud in the form of hacking, identity theft, phishing and other forms of data breach crimes are some of the most problematic cases of fraud occurring against business owners because the hackers are often very good at what they do, which means they are undetectable.

In order to protect yourself and your company against these and other types of fraud, we advise our clients to adopt stricter anti-fraud practices within the workplace. First and foremost, you must provide your employees with a safe and anonymous system in which they can report their suspicions if they have a reason to suspect another employee or insider of committing a fraudulent act. Anonymity is key, because co-workers do not like to rat each other out.

It’s a really good idea to randomly surprise your employees with unscheduled internal audits and every so often, hire a professional team to externally audit all of your business accounts and inventory. This will keep your employees on their toes, and will reduce temptation to commit fraud. Ensure that your business has clear written policies when it comes to any type of money handling.
Tighten up your hiring policies by performing strict background checks on any potential new employees.

If you feel that you have already been a victim of small business fraud, please contact our office today so that we can assist you.  Don’t let fraud fall by the wayside – take steps to rectify the problem now so that your company can continue to thrive.

 

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If We Put Our Heads Together, We Can Accomplish Anything!

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Here at Veitengruber Law, we are extremely proud of our expanding legal practice. Every calendar year we are able to help an increasing number of new clients. Many of our current clients are individuals, couples or families who are seeking debt solutions that will help them look forward to a bright and successful financial future. As we have found great success in helping the clients we’ve had the pleasure of meeting thus far, we started asking ourselves, “Who else might need our help?”

Before I expand upon the above query, I would once again like to dispel the myth that all attorneys are only in this business for the money. The number one reason I entered the legal field was because of a deep desire to help other people. My aspiration toward helping the community began in my youth, and I carry this desire with me today, throughout all of my networking events, client meetings, courtroom appearances and even into my personal life. Likewise, I always look for the same characteristic in the attorneys, legal aides and office staff that have joined the Veitengruber Law team.

With that being said, the Veitengruber Law Firm’s desire to reach out to our fellow professionals is an authentic offer to help you and your clients. We believe that by working together, we can strengthen our ties to the community and help improve the lives of even more community members.

Our firm has a maintained a concentrated legal focus in order to provide all of our clients with accurate expertise and high quality representation at all times. We have made it a priority not to spread ourselves too thin, and we are continuously collaborating with attorneys and other knowledgeable professionals so that our clients get the results they deserve.

Our areas of focus include:

  • Debt collection
  • Credit repair and debt negotiation
  • Bankruptcy
  • Loan modifications
  • Civil litigation
  • Consumer fraud
  • Contract disputes
  • Estate planning
  • Real estate matters

Professionals with clients who may need our services include:

  • Divorce lawyers
  • Accountants
  • Criminal attorneys
  • Adoption case workers
  • Mortgage brokers
  • Immigration attorneys
  • CPAs
  • Insurance agents
  • Malpractice attorneys
  • Nursing home owners
  • Social Security attorneys
  • Medical professionals
  • Tax professionals
  • Elder law attorneys
  • Realtors
  • Funeral directors
  • Employment attorneys

Should you find yourself in need of any of our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us at your convenience. We will welcome your clients into our offices with open arms; we also offer your clients the option to have their first consultation meeting with us at your place of business, if that makes them feel more comfortable. And, of course, any client of yours who is referred to us will be charged nothing for their consultation. Believe us when we say that we really are looking forward to working with you!

Photo courtesy of Buddawiggi

 

How Did I Get into This Mess?

2465233580_6e16395b96Photo courtesy of OhKyle

A common question asked by many people who are desperate to get their financial lives back in order is, “How on earth did I get here?”

While your focus is most likely honed in on creating a financial future you can live with, it’s also a really good idea to do some self-analysis now, so that you avoid repeating your past money mistakes over and over again.

In my experience, a majority of bankruptcies, foreclosures, and bottomed-out credit scores can be attributed to a phenomenon commonly referred to as “Keeping up with the Joneses“.

The luxuries of fifteen years ago are today’s necessities. These new “necessities” add significantly to the average American’s cost of living. Today, almost everyone feels able to justify their “need” to own the newest cell phone on the market.

Along with the newest, sleekest phone model comes the hefty monthly payment plan that gives consumers unlimited 4G data at blazing fast speeds, allowing them access to their email and the almighty Google anytime, anywhere. Fifteen years ago, cell phones didn’t even make it onto this survey that asked Americans what they couldn’t live without.

Of course, it’s not just cell phones that send people into debt – everyone also wants a flat screen tv and a premium cable package to enjoy it with. Ipods, laptop computers, home cleaning services, fully loaded SUVs, lawn maintenance crews and even plastic surgery have become surprisingly mainstream across middle income America. Easily accessible credit cards with high credit limits allow many people to live far beyond their means without sitting down and running the numbers first. It’s become far too easy to swipe, swipe, swipe a credit card through store after store, without fully realizing the ramifications that will be coming their way soon: THE BILL. Being unable to make even the minimum payments on a monthly credit card bill, many will forgo payments altogether so that they can avoid losing cell phone service.

Point blank: losing focus on what you actually need to survive is easy to do. A credit card may feel like ‘free money’ at first, and the ever-increasing need to emulate those around you can feed your need for the things that everyone else has. The problem with that line of thinking is that oftentimes, even the people you emulate are broke.

Without an understanding of how to manage your finances or how to live within the budget that your income warrants, your expectations for your standard of living are likely to be too high, giving you an unrealistic idea of what your life should look like.

Sooner or later, reality will come crashing down around you, which is probably why you’re here, trying to figure out what happened. No one can continue living beyond their means forever. If the panic and worry has finally set in: congratulations. You’re finally ready to take a good, hard look at the mess you’ve created.

It will be painful to look at and take responsibility for, especially at first. For awhile you will have to live below your means in order to get your debt under control. But hear this: if you need debt relief in New Jersey, we can help. Visit us on Facebook or at our website to learn how we can give you a bright financial outlook for the future.

Financial Security and Emotional Stability Go Hand in Hand

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At any given moment, there are millions of people all over America experiencing financial distress for one reason or another. Unemployment, divorce, rising interest rates, and unwise financial decisions in the past are just a few of the major causes of finding oneself in a money bind.

And although we’d all like to think that money doesn’t buy happiness, the real truth is that, for most of us, money does indeed make the world go round.

If money, or rather, the lack thereof, is not a part of your life equation right now, your self-esteem and sense of self-worth have likely taken a plummet. Like any other stressor, lack of a paycheck initially can lead to things like: sleepless nights, changes in appetite, lack of interest in everyday activities, anxiety and depression. On top of that, any sustained length of chronic depression can cause physical ailments like high blood pressure, heart disease, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome and decline of overall health.

If you are currently dealing with intense financial stress, keep your chin up, because there are actually some important things to remember and actions you can take that will help you to prevent yourself from spiraling out of control.

  • Remind yourself that this too shall pass: Just as your mother or grandmother probably used to say, it’s true that everything bad eventually comes to an end. If you are unemployed or facing possible bankruptcy, remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Take action in order to give yourself a sense of accomplishment on an every day basis. Taking the appropriate steps to turn your financial situation around will give you the momentum you need to create a financial future that is bright. Whether this means manually filling out job applications, seeking the help of a financial adviser, or looking for a bankruptcy attorney, the key here is DO SOMETHING. Make the changes.
  • Ask for the help you need. So many people are afraid to ask for help from their loved ones and friends, especially when it involves money. This is a time when you’re going to have to dig deep, put your pride aside, and get comfortable with humility. You may even be surprised to find that, sometimes, asking for help can leave you feeling more empowered than ever. Why? Because you’ll be (1) Taking action; and (2) Making yourself vulnerable with those you’re closest to.
  • Think about something other than money sometimes. It may sound difficult, but make time every day to participate in activities that interest you and broaden your life experience. Also, do your best to get an adequate amount of rest at night and exercise during the day.

Lastly, remember that you will get your life back.  There are proven strategies that can guarantee you a positive financial future. Want to learn more? Read freely through our blog posts about financial stability and debt resolution, visit our Facebook page and give our office a call.  We’ll give you a free consultation, and during that consult, we’ll help you determine which strategies will work for your unique situation. We’re here to help!

 

Image credit: Tax Credits