YOU’RE NOT PARANOID…
THEY ARE WATCHING YOU
By Rick Cruz
Fraudulent companies masquerading as legitimate businesses have never been a unique or novel concept. Whether it be the charlatans of the 15th century or the Enron’s of the 90’s, there has been no shortage of illegitimate gains through deception. Even our nation’s most sacred financial institutions decided that fraud was a better way to achieve success then good old fashioned risk analysis. When the Great Recession started in the United States less than 10 years ago it was because the checks and balances that are necessary to regulate risk had been abandoned.
Recently, PICB sent information regarding a string of Canadian companies that had been defrauding printers in the U.S. One of our clients expressed the desire to know when the individuals responsible for the fraudulent activity were either punished or locked up, saying that she would feel better once she knew their fate. Fact is, it doesn’t matter who gets punished for what’s already been done. The victims of fraud will very rarely see any of their losses returned and there will always be someone else to take the mantle and find new ways to defraud creditors out of their money. Another client let us know there was a credit card processing company out of Texas that, when asked to put their proposal in writing, asked our client for their birth date and personal driver’s license #. Needless to say our client hung up and hasn’t been contacted since. Never be surprised what criminals will ask for. Protect yourself by following these simple steps to minimize your risk.
Research a company before you get started. Make sure that the company is a registered entity with the state they are operating in. Verify the address to ensure your potential customer is operating from a physical location and not a mailbox rental. Determine if the company has a land line and isn’t just operating from a cell phone.
Integrate a healthy credit policy. Signed credit applications are necessary to minimize risk with all applications requesting the Federal Tax ID # for the potential customer along with both trade and bank references. A line of credit should never be extended without a signed application and bank account information.
Secure the line of credit when necessary with personal guarantees. While most company principals will scoff at the idea of a personal guarantee it is a useful tool when the risk is higher.
Knowledge is power. The more you know about your customer before a line of credit is extended, the less risk is involved. You can never ask too many questions or request too much information.
STAY VIGILANT / NEVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN
PICB dedicated resources and services are designed to help Printers from becoming victims. As many members of PIA and our clients will attest, our Credit Risk Assessment and other credit and collection tools and services can help weed out the grifters and identify the charlatans before they get your money, identify good payers which improves cash flow and warn you of slow-payer or no payer risks before you need an Excedrin!
For more information please contact any staff member at 847-265-0400 or visit our web site at www.picb-us.com