116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Beware the impostor scam stealing your business’ identity
By Bobby Hansen
Aug. 12, 2022 12:15 pm
Unemployment levels are getting back to where they were before the pandemic. At the BBB we still hear that businesses — particularly those in the construction and service trades — continue to struggle to fill vacancies.
We are all familiar with personal identity theft, but it is important to recognize and prevent business I.D. theft, too.
Fake job offers are at an all time high and commonly are using the name of a legitimate business to entice job seekers. A recognized name with a solid reputation provides the basis for this spoofing scam.
Business I.D. theft frequently will involve two victims — the business itself and the individual falling for the con.
BBB is seeing innovative tactics used to put a new twist on the old employment scam.
Scammers are great at mimicking official sites, logos and other details. Just because a website or an email looks official does not mean that it is.
Caller ID is frequently faked and, with the advent of online interviews, an unsuspecting applicant also may share enough information to subject themselves to the headache of identity theft.
A phony job offer may involve vague details as to responsibilities, a large wage, no experience needed and advance payment for office equipment. A common thread is remote communication.
After depositing what is a counterfeit check, a refund is requested for overpayment. The fake check ultimately will be dishonored and any funds returned to the “employer” will be lost.
Legitimate companies generally don’t send money before work is started and do not ask for return of funds that have already been paid.
How do you protect your business? Research your business, Google the company name and check reviews that do not make sense.
Are you being contacted with issues that are inconsistent with your business, services, products or hiring practices? These can all be red flags that your business identity might be compromised.
Plus, communication is an important element in prevention, so make the public aware of problems by posting warnings.
Scammers pretend to be a legitimate company to trick consumers. A fake site is set up and the company name and address is hijacked.
They also use brand hijacking — the blatant copying and misuse of identity and content — to impersonate a business and deceive unsuspecting visitors.
The company doesn’t necessarily lose money, but its reputation can be tarnished when angry customers who are ripped off think the real company is responsible.
Whenever the economy threatens to take a dip, scammers look for new ways to take advantage. It is important to note that any type of businesses can be victims of identity theft as impostor scams come in all shapes and sizes.
Bobby Hansen is regional director for the Better Business Bureau Cedar Rapids office; (319) 365-1190.