Columbus – BBB emphasizes the importance of protecting your personal information all year long, but what if a business’s ID is stolen? Business identity theft not only affects the company, but consumers as well.
Local BBB Accredited Business Anonymous Insights reports their name has been hijacked in a nationwide scam. Owner Patti Lengel told BBB that fake letters and checks have been sent to consumers throughout the country using Anonymous Insights’ information, asking consumers to mystery shop at Target for a salary and evaluate their experience. The letter instructs consumers to deposit a check into their checking account, and then text a number using the term “FUNDS AVAILABLE”.
The scam is more complicated than usual, because Anonymous Insights does offer mystery shopping to their clients. However, their process is vastly different than what is described in the fake letter. Anonymous Insights will work directly with their clients to develop a mystery shopper program and send trained shoppers into their businesses for an evaluation.
Ms. Lengel has reached out to some victims to let them know the letter is a scam. She is now referring any consumers who have received the letter to BBB serving Central Ohio. An alert has also been placed on her BBB Business Profile letting consumers know that her company’s name is being misused.
If you are a business who experiences identity theft, consider these BBB tips:
- Report suspicious activity to local law enforcement, the FBI’s cybercrime division and BBB.
- Create a response policy. As part of your public response consider posting a warning on your company website.
- If a deceptive website is involved, work to get it shut down. Once identified and documented that a site treads on your business name, notify the web host to shut it down. Host information is available with a networksolutions.com/whois search of the web address.
For more information on finding businesses you can trust, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at bbb.org. To find or report scams in your area, visit BBB Scam Tracker.
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