Small business owners beware—scammers are on the loose and you could become their next victim.

That's the message of the Federal Trade Commission, which has sent out an alert on the best ways for consumers to guard against scams.

The FTC offered these tips:

1. Be tech savvy.

Scammers pretend to be someone you trust, such as a company with which you do business or a government agency. They will dupe victims through fake caller IDs, fake email addresses and misleading websites and will hack social media accounts of people you know in order to send you messages from people you trust.

Never open attachments or download files from unexpected emails that may have dangerous viruses that could damage your computers and cost you critically important information stored in them.

2. Know with whom you’re dealing.

Scammers create a sense of urgency so you’ll make a hasty decision you will later regret. Before doing business with a new company, search its name online using the term “scam” or “complaint.” Pay heed to what other people report about that company online; there is often no better resource to trust than word of mouth, be it good or bad.

3. Don’t pay scammers something for nothing.

Scammers use intimidation and fear by telling you something terrible is about to happen unless they receive a payment before you can confirm their claims.

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