Fraud is one of those frightening words that can intimidate even the most seasoned business veterans, and it is becoming more and more prevalent in recent years.

Whether you are tasked with extending credit to customers, vetting customers applying for credit, managing customer credit accounts, or attempting to collect from delinquent customer accounts, stumbling across any type of fraud can instantly throw a wrench into your plan and ruin your day.

However, by being aware of the types of fraud out there and doing a few simple things to protect yourself against them, you can make sure that fraud doesn’t show up, surprise you, and ruin your day.

Let’s take a quick look at four simple things you can do starting today to protect yourself against business fraud.

Know the Types of Fraud

The very best way that you can protect yourself against business fraud is to simply be aware of the different types of fraud that are out there. As with anything in life, simply being aware of the possibilities can go a long way towards preventing unfortunate outcomes.

With everything from identity theft and payroll fraud to money fraud and workers’ compensation fraud possible, there is no shortage of ways that your company can be deceived in today’s business world. Make sure that you are constantly reading and researching about types of fraud so that you are aware of the possibilities.

Use Common Sense

Once you have a good working knowledge of the types of fraud that exist in today’s business environment, the next step is to put yourself on high alert using simple common sense as an antenna to detect things that just don’t quite seem to sit right with you.

In many cases, perpetrators of fraud will attempt to make you feel like you are being overly cautious when your common sense indicates that there might be an issue. Whatever you do, make sure that you always pay more respect to your own common sense than the people you are considering going into business with.

Check Contact Info

One of the easiest ways to do your homework on a potentially fraudulent situation is to research all of the given contact information for a client company. If you aren’t able to call the number they gave you and speak to someone at the company, there is a good chance you are heading for trouble.

On a similar note, you should also verify that any address given matches the address listed on a company website, and if possible, you might also want to check out that address for yourself.

Contact References

Another way that you can confirm that potential clients are exactly who they say they are is to actually call their references and ask a series of questions to validate that they are who they are representing themselves to be.

Contacting references might seem like an incredibly obvious way to prevent business fraud, but you would be shocked how little effort is put into this part of the process in favor of getting right to work with a new client.

Don’t do that. Take your time and properly vet your new prospects.

Whether they are attempting to deceive you specifically or you are just a casualty of a larger fraud, it is always easier to prevent business fraud before it even gets started. And by following these four simple rules, you will be able to weed out a significant portion of potential frauds before they ever have a chance to take root.