This guest blog post is provided by the Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency that ensures Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace. Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (except as it relates to food), the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

It's Fraud Prevention Month, and the Competition Bureau wants you to protect your business by having an anti-fraud plan in place to ward off criminals looking to make a quick buck at your expense.

Fraud affects everyone, but small and medium size enterprises are especially vulnerable. Fraudsters can target you online, over the phone and in person and can use different tactics, such as internal fraud, identity theft, and business directory and supply scams. This could have impacts on your revenue, your reputation and the longevity of your business. This is why it is important to take proactive steps to ensure that you can prevent losses to your bottom-line, and lessen the impact of possible fraud.

Recognize it: Fraudsters are sophisticated and creative, so questioning the legitimacy of every inquiry – no matter how official it may appear to be — is a good policy to have in place. Scammers are finding new and innovative ways every day to rip people off, so be watchful for any deals that sound too good to be true, including online and on social media.

Reject it: It's important to have trained and attentive staff who are cautious and know how to reject suspected fraudulent activity. If you receive a suspicious email, ignore it. If you question the legitimacy of a telephone call from an unfamiliar source, hang up. If you get something in the mail asking you to forward personal information or credit card details, don't take any action. Trust your instincts — they could save your business or your employer from becoming the victims of fraud.

Report it: By reporting a scam, you can provide law enforcement with the information they need to stop fraudsters and help prevent others from becoming victims of fraud. If you file a complaint, it is important that you keep any evidence, such as cancelled cheques, certified and other mail receipts, and printed or electronic copies of emails.

Here are a few ways to report fraud: contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at antifraudcentre.ca or by phone at 1-888-495-8501; or report it to the Competition Bureau at competitionbureau.gc.ca or by phone at 1-800-348-5358.