If you haven’t noticed yet, the internet is the wild west. Rules are fluid at best, and at times, they are non-existent. That leaves lots of room for individual bad actors or international crime syndicates to set traps to steal information and money from your customers.
That’s exactly what happened to one of our clients recently.
We’ll call them “XCompany.”
A criminal set up a website that looked exactly like XCompany’s website and began accepting payments. Obviously, this bad guy wasn’t going to make and ship the products that were ordered! People got swindled, and XCompany took a hit to their online reputation as a result.
That’s when the CITOC team got called in to help fix the problem.
The first thing we had XCompany’s employees do is let all their customers know that if they must pay through their own Bank bill pay service or XCompany’s service (on the correct website). Why? They needed to know that there was not a third party – or website – that was authorized to accept payments for XCompany’s goods and services.
Once XCompany had informed their customers of the issue, the next step we advised was for them to pursue legal action. They had their attorney send a cease and desist letter to Saxo, the payment processor that was being used by the criminals. That helped.
Following these two initial actions that were intended to stop the bleeding, we consulted with our XCompany clients on further steps that can help them recover from this embarrassing and potentially injurious situation.
We suggested that they set up additional legitimate payment options/services for customers to choose from – so they have many authorized/legitimate options for payment and don’t go looking for others.
We also consulted with them on contacting a marketing/brand management company to combat the spurious site online with overwhelming digital marketing force. Because the spoof site was hosted in another country, there is no way to force its removal. However, with the right brand management, the spoof site can be relegated to a dark corner where it won’t be found by customers wanting services or product.
The unfortunate truth is that there really isn’t anything to prevent the bad actors from trying to mimic your site to steal your brand and your customer’s money. That’s the world we live in these days. But having professionals on your team to help you handle these issues when they arise can mean the difference between a speed bump that slows you a little and a sinkhole that swallows you whole.
Partner with the CITOC team to help you get past the speed bumps and on to greater business opportunities!