We all know the old saying: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But these are hard economic times, and if you're a business owner and that something is a scheme claiming it can put dollars in your pocket, you may be tempted to bite. The two types of business fraud below are the most common scams targeting small business owners in 2009. The best way to avoid being victimized by business fraud? Retain the services of an experienced fraud lawyer or business lawyer, and check with him or her about your business on a regular basis or before you sink your hard earned cash into any proposition. Internal Business Fraud When times are tough, small businesses look for ways to cut back on spending. Unfortunately some of their cost-cutting measures turn out to be false economies. Among these are the annual auditing procedures that may often be an owner's first clue that something fishy's going on with the accounts receivable. Owners may also cut back on background checks for new hires, and end up with employees whose probity is questionable. Inventory fraud is widely practiced by unscrupulous employees. Embezzlement of actual funds is less common, but still can be a staggering blow since often the embezzler is a long-time employee who the owner has grown to trust. Phony Grants The $787 billion stimulus plan passed by Congress in early 2009 spurred an entire industry claiming that in addition to federal spending and tax cuts designed to jumpstart the economy, the package contained millions of dollars worth of grants for small business owners - if they only find them. Ads for companies that guaranteed to hook small businesses up with free money began proliferating on the radio and Internet. Of course they were asking for their own money up front - and some small business owners found themselves hustled out of thousands of dollars. Here's the inside scoop on government grants: they mostly go to nonprofits or science and technology companies. While a few government grant opportunities do exist for plucky entrepreneurs, they are the exception not the rule - and you can track them down yourself merely by pointing your browser to www.grants.gov. Why You Need An Experienced business lawyer Developing an ongoing relationship with an experienced fraud lawyer means you have a sage advisor at your side who can spot the red flags when you are too busy or emotionally invested to spot them yourself.