Email scam targets small business owners in Nevada

RENO, NV (KOLO) - Local businesses in Nevada are thriving and scammers are ready to reap the benefit.

The FBI says its Internet Crime Complaint Center reports victims of internet scams in Tennessee lost more than $28 million last year./ Source: MGN

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford sent a notice urging Nevada business owners to be on the lookout for email scams.

"I didn't know anything until you came to tell me about this scam that was going on," says Cal-Neva Handmade owner Kim Thomas to KOLO 8.

Thomas moved to Reno from Sacramento because the housing market was booming, which would bode well for her home decor shop, now in Meadowood Mall. Thomas says she was surprised to hear about the scam threat.

"I haven't seen anything on any of my emails come in," says Thomas.

According to the Nevada attorney general, scammers send emails attempting to obtain money and personal identity information, particularly W-2 and other important tax forms. In order to make their email appear urgent and legitimate, scammers generally impersonate a business executive.

Thomas says she's experienced firsthand how a scam can hurt a small business.

"I have been a victim that was a while back, but that was due to my negligence of not being aware of what's going on," says Thomas.

Attorney General Ford says there are a several ways to stay vigilant.

-Use multi-factor authentication in addition to strong passwords whenever possible. While the cost of implementing multi-factor authentication can be high, the cost of a data compromise is generally higher.

-Conduct employee training on the threat of email scams and how to identify phishing emails.

-Create company policies that require employees to verify any changes to existing invoices, bank deposits and contact information by phone.

-Consider requiring two parties to sign off on transfers.

Thomas says she’s glad to have been told about the recent scams and hopes others will be notified.

"Maybe the state can be a little more forthwith to let business owners know what's going on," says Thomas.

According to the FBI, Nevada businesses lost $7.6 million in 2017 from these types of tax scams.

It may take a few extra dollars to add more protection but it could save you from losing big.

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