Rick Li, owner operator of High Efficiency Cooling & Heating Inc. a HVAC company, in his company warehouse in Markham on Sept. 30.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

Rick Li’s heating and cooling business has been the target of its share of scams: First it was a foreign buyer that wanted him to send the goods and get paid later. Then it was a credit purchase that went through but was clawed back after the merchandise had left the shop. Then there was a spear-phishing scam, where fraudsters created a fake e-mail account for his business and used it to get his client to wire nearly $20,000 to the wrong account. (Fortunately, the client caught the error and was able to stop the transfer in time.)

Now, after 15 years in business, Mr. Li – who co-owns Markham, Ont.-based High Efficiency Heating and Cooling with his wife Gloria Deng – is extra cautious. He won’t ship a product without cash or an e-mail payment upfront or take credit cards over the phone. He also takes more time to verify the identity of anyone who calls, texts or e-mails.

“Pretty much every day we get something,” he says, pointing to a recent increase in text-message scams. “I get one or two a day, asking you to click a link or saying it’s your bank.”

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Mr. Li feels like the number of scams is increasing, and he’s right. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) says it received 2,317 reports of fraud targeted at businesses last year, according…

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