February 04, 2014


Columbus, Georgia – February 4, 2014 – Increasingly the BBB gets complaints from consumers that involve legitimate reputable companies whose business name and/or product are being used to perpetrate various scams. Scammers resort to using real companies’ names because consumers have the internet at their fingertips these days and thus it is easy for them to check if a company exists, which then lends an air of legitimacy to the scam.

One of the scams revolves around loans and pre-paid cards. Consumers report that they visit various websites (which are phishing websites set up by scammers) to apply for loans. Once they apply online, they receive a phone call from someone stating he/she is with a certain financial institution (legitimate company name, thus the “name-jacking”) and that the applicant has been approved for a loan. However, in order to receive the loan, they must place an x-amount of funds on a pre-paid card and provide the PIN of that card to this person. Many of the consumers reported that they have placed funds on the pre-paid cards several times because “the fee had gone up”, “the deposit was increased”, “insurance for the loan must be purchased”, and so on. Needless to say, once the PIN is provided to the scammer the money on the card is gone and no loan is fort coming.

Another scam involving “name-jacking” centers on job ads placed in various classifieds and web sites. Individuals advertise employment with legitimate companies and ask applicants to pay “fees” to secure employment (for example: pay for OSHA training, background check, etc.) Often they will state that the money will be reimbursed once the employment commences. Unfortunately, there is no job and the money is gone.

These two examples of “name-jacking” scams show that businesses have no control if a scammer decides to use their name and that consumers must be more diligent in ensuring that they are indeed dealing with the legitimate company and not with someone simply pretending to be with that company.

The BBB would like to advise consumers to keep in mind these helpful hints:

  • Go to a physical location of a financial institution to apply for a loan or go directly to their website; do not use “middle man” websites.
  • Keep in mind that scammers can easily manipulate your Caller ID by spoofing a number (meaning your Caller ID may in fact show that you are getting a call from an X Bank, but that is not the case.)
  • Legitimate banking institutions will not ask you to pre-pay fees, particularly not via a pre-paid card.
  • Legitimate companies will not ask for any payments to provide employment.
  • Check companies on bbb.org, we place alerts on Business Reviews when we are aware of a company name/product being misused.


About Better Business Bureau:

BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.

 Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree to adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.

 Contact BBB serving East Alabama, West and Southwest Georgia at (706) 324-0712