– February 3, 2014
– Better Business Bureau of Ne
Hampshire is warning businesses to be vigilant for signs that their business’s name has been targeted in an identity theft scheme. Increased reports of corporate identity theft are popping up across the country, and New Hampshire has not been without incident.
BBB was notified by a Claremont business owner that his company has been victim of “name hijacking” and used in a job posting scam. The scammers have used the company’s name and address to create a professional looking website as a guise to contact job seekers who have posted their resumes online. After offering candidates the job, the con artists send “applications” requiring Social Security Numbers and dates of birth, which are then used to make illegal purchases under false identity.
“Creating scam websites or fake advertisements using legitimate logos and/or professional signatures are a common way for scammers to hijack business names,” stated Robert Shomphe, President/CEO of BBB Serving New Hampshire. “Scammers will use a business’s URL and logos to lend credibility to their schemes, and may use a different suffix, such as ‘.net’ instead of ‘.com’ to trick consumers.”
The fact that this company did not have its own website made both them and the consumer an easy online target for this scam.
Great Escape Travel Services in Alton, NH has informed BBB that it too has been the victim of corporate identity theft. In this case, scam artists have taken the company’s logo and attached it to a fake Craigslist posting offering cheap airline tickets. Consumers are then asked to provide credit card information to secure the tickets. The company was tipped off after it began receiving calls from consumers across the country attempting to verify the offer.
“Unfortunately, we have been seeing this type of crime increasing both locally and nationally,” continued Shomphe. “Oftentimes, a company doesn’t even know that its name is being used until after the con artist has successfully swindled someone.”
Both businesses have reported the identity theft to BBB as well as some other agencies such as the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the National White Collar Crime Center (NWC3), the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and their local police departments.
While it is difficult to detect when your name has been hijacked, BBB suggests being vigilant. Regularly review your company’s name and address on the internet to look for any sites or activity that was not created by you.
BBB also suggests being observant of the following red flags:
• Receiving a request to verify orders you didn’t place
• Receiving phone calls from someone trying to verify an address for your business that is not associated with your company or that you cannot confirm
• Receiving invoices for storage, shipping or other services that you did not place
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB 124 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org.
The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.