Business Impersonation

Is someone using your business's likeness to steal sensitive information? Learn more about this type of cybercrime and how to protect your customers.

Step 1:Recognize

Red Flags of Business Impersonation

If you suspect that your business is being impersonated, there are a few key warning signs to look out for:

  • There are fake websites or social media accounts using your business name or logo. These can be difficult to spot, so it’s important to do a thorough search.
  • You are receiving complaints from customers about poor service or product quality. This can be a red flag that someone is using your business name to scam people.
  • Keep an eye on your business’s online reputation. If you see negative reviews or ratings that appear suspicious, come from out of the country or you are flooded with numerous negative reviews simultaneously, it’s possible that someone is trying to damage your business’ reputation.

Step 2:Immediate Actions

Business impersonation is a serious crime that can have devastating consequences for your business. If you suspect that your business is being impersonated, there are steps you can take to help mitigate the damage and protect your business going forward.

  • Reach out to the site platform where the impersonation is taking place and request that the content be removed.
  • Visit the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website and utilize their Scamtracker tool.
  • Reach out to a lawyer who specializes in internet law to discuss your options.
  • If your Employer Identification Number (EIN) has been compromised, contact the three major credit reporting agencies — Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian — and place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This will make it harder for the scammer to open new accounts in your business’ name.

Step 3:Report

Reporting any type of cybercrime, including business impersonation, is imperative to help others avoid being scammed. As a society, the more people that report online scams and fraud, the more national reporting data that is collected, and the better chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease cybercrime.

Step 4:Recover

How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Threats

There are a few key things you can do to protect your business from cyber threats. Here are some tips:

  • Keep your business information safe and secure. This includes things like your business name, address, contact information, and tax ID number. Be careful about who you share this information with and make sure it is stored securely.
  • Monitor your business accounts closely. Regularly review your financial statements and look for any suspicious activity. If you see something that doesn’t seem right, contact your bank or credit card company immediately.
  • Protect your online information. Make sure your website and all online accounts are protected with strong passwords and authentication measures. Be cautious about phishing scams and other attempts to gain access to your sensitive information.
  • Keep all software up to date. Hackers often exploit vulnerabilities in old software versions to gain access to systems. By keeping software up to date, organizations can close these security holes.
  • Back up your data regularly. Store your backups offline, so they can’t be encrypted by ransomware.
  • Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders. Don’t click on links in email messages from unknown senders.
  • Don’t download software from untrustworthy websites. Only download software from websites you trust.
  • Use a security suite that includes anti-malware protection. A security suite can protect your computer from ransomware and other malware.
  • Educate your employees about cyber threats. Search for free cybersecurity training videos on YouTube.
  • If you have the budget, consider investing in cybersecurity training for your employees to educate them about threats, and what they can do to help protect themselves and the business from cyber attacks.
  • Instruct your employees to report anything suspicious to you or their supervisor.
  • Have a plan in place for what to do in the event of impersonation, so you can quickly contain the damage and minimize the impact on your business.

Take 5 Steps for Better Online Security

It’s important to strengthen your business’ online security to help avoid all cyber attacks. Take action to improve your digital posture by following these steps:

  1. Implement Multi Factor Authentication (MFA): Passwords are generally easy for scammers to crack, and even if you use strong passphrases, there’s still the possibility that a cybercriminal can obtain your passphrase in a data breach. Implementing MFA is a great way to maximize your security and ensure that you are the only one who can gain access to your accounts. MFA should be implemented on all accounts where it is available. Check your account’s security settings to see if it is something you can set up.
  2. Update Your Privacy Settings: Privacy settings allow you to control your personal information (name, address, phone number, date of birth, financial details, photos or videos, etc) and how that information is used. Review your privacy settings on all of your accounts including your social media accounts. Consider restricting who can see your friends list, contacts, photos and posts.
  3. Activate Automatic Updates: Automatic updates are a set of changes to an app, software or operating system that are automatically pushed by the developer to fix or improve it. Oftentimes, cybercriminals take advantage of security flaws to plant malicious software on your devices. By activating automatic updates, you will automatically patch security vulnerabilities to protect your data.
  4. Use a Password Manager or Create Strong Passphrases: A password manager is a software tool that securely stores all of your login credentials in one place, allowing you to create and manage strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts. If you are unable to afford a password manager, use strong passphrases. A passphrase is a combination of random words or a sentence that is much longer and more complex than a typical password. Using a passphrase instead of a password makes it much harder for hackers to guess or brute-force their way into your accounts.
  5. Learn the Elements of a Phishing Attempt: Familiarize yourself with the elements of a phishing email. Phishing emails tend to include a sense of urgency and multiple grammar and spelling errors. If they are asking you to reveal personal information, be suspicious. If you get a strange email, try contacting the company another way to confirm they sent that email. If the email is suspicious, mark it as spam.

TestimonialHear from Other Victims

Without, I don't know if I would have been able to react as quickly to protect my personal information.
Mary - Indianapolis, IN