One of the benefits of a virtual office is that is can provide you or your business with a professional address, something that looks more legitimate than a home address or a P.O box. However, this benefit is something that fraudsters have picked up on, who are now using virtual offices as a way to appear more legitimate and to scam people.
This hurts those of us who are using Scottsdale virtual offices as a way to build a legitimate business, putting us in a position where we could look less legitimate if we use a virtual office. How do you maintain a solid, professional image without having to change your address? Here a few good tips to consider:
Smaller Cities like Scottsdale are Less Susceptible
In a mail fraud and money laundering scheme caught several months ago, the scammers used virtual offices in Seattle, Houston, Las Vegas, and Chicago to run their operation. Notice they used big cities, not smaller cities like Scottsdale, Spokane, or Reno. Part of the reason scammers like the big cities is that the addresses are more recognizable, like Las Vegas Boulevard or Chicago’s Sears Tower. However, the smaller cities are just as recognizable without having those famous locations that attract those who want to feign legitimacy. To remain legitimate and to avoid complaints of being a part of these schemes, then consider virtual office options in cities like Scottsdale.
Use Your Space from Time to Time
The Better Business Bureau suggested the following to consumers who want to find out whether a business is located at their advertised address:
a quick online search of the address may provide evidence that the company is using a virtual office space
This advises assumes that everyone using a virtual offices only wants the address and the mail forwarding services, when a virtual office can provide much more than that. A virtual office can also have virtual receptionist services, conference room rentals, and even actual offices that you can use to work in for a few hours. Some virtual offices may even advertise their clients and members. To get past the online search portion, utilizing these services can help a great deal, as it shows that you have a second business vouching for your presence and your legitimacy. It also helps if you provide additional contact information, such as a phone number and an email, so it’s easier for a skeptic to contact you and to ask questions.
Be Open about Your Use of a Virtual Office
What makes the use of a virtual office for these fraud operations is that these people claim to be more that they are, or bigger that they are. For example, they only use the mail forwarding service of a virtual office, but will claim to have an entire floor or to operate more of that office than is possible, such as a call center. Even though a virtual office could be used against you, if you are open about the fact that you have a virtual office and will primarily work from home or are only there twice a week, it’s harder for someone to say that you’re lying or are trying to cover something up. Also, the additional services offered by virtual offices allow you to invite people to see your space, to rent a conference room or to use the printing, for example. Seeing is believing, especially with something virtual.
Don’t let these fraudsters and scammers scare you away from having a virtual office! Don’t let them ruin things for everyone else, who are using virtual offices legitimately. It’s a matter of representing yourself properly and getting the most out of the opportunity a virtual office presents for your business.