The key to protecting your brand and reputation

July 2, 2024

Brand impersonation scams are becoming increasingly common across all sectors, especially in both the insurance and not-for-profit (NFP) sectors. These industries are prime targets because they hold customer data and use online payments/donations, which scammers love to exploit. Business owners and leaders, including marketing personnel, must understand common scams, what to look out for, and how to protect their own brand.

“As business continues to be reliant on and driven by technology, fraudsters have more chances to trick organisations and clients alike. It’s extremely important to know the latest cyber scams and know how to spot them early on so you can protect your reputation and finances.” Caroline Healy, We Are Savvy CEO, says.

Keep reading to find out about the most common scams in these sectors and what signs to watch out for.

Impersonation scams common in insurance 

In the insurance industry, Business Email Compromise (BEC) is particularly common. Scammers exploit vulnerabilities in an organisation’s email system, assuming identities of senior executives or trusted employees to manipulate transactions. Common BEC scams often involve invoice fraud, where scammers alter legitimate invoices to reroute payments into their accounts.

Additionally, scammers may impersonate employees to deceive organisations into unauthorised payments, or impersonate the organisation itself to mislead clients. These tactics can inflict substantial financial and reputational harm if not promptly identified and addressed.

Using emotion to perform a cyber scam

“Scammers often take advantage of the good intentions behind NFPs, using people’s generosity to their advantage.” Caroline says.

Hackers will pretend to be charity representatives, reaching out through phone calls, emails, or even planting people out in the public to build trust and collect donations. What’s worse, they create fake websites that look just like real charities, tricking donors into thinking they’re giving to a worthy cause. 

The fallout from these tactics not only erodes organisational trust, but also diverts money away from genuine work that is required to support our community’s most vulnerable members.

Warning Signs for Clients

Organisations should consistently communicate with customers, urging them to be aware of the warning signs that indicate potential scams, while also reiterating their own security measures. 

Scam warning signs can include:

  • Unexpected requests for personal information or payments
  • Urgent requests for action involving personal or financial details
  • Communications about unexpected or unauthorised transactions
  • Requests to use different bank accounts on official payments 

Warning Signs for Your Organisation and Employees

Organisations need to stay alert and proactive in spotting and stopping scams that target employees and operations. Employee training is key – we recommend that while this topic is covered in cyber training that it should also be covered in Brand Induction and Training. 

Common scams include:

  • Watch out for unusual requests from ‘senior staff’ asking for money or sensitive info.
  • Always double-check any changes to invoices or payment instructions to make sure they’re legit.
  • Be cautious of emails with strange links, attachments, or urgent demands.
  • Listen to what clients are saying. If they report odd communication or suspicious behaviour regarding your brand, take it seriously.

By staying vigilant and tackling these warning signs promptly, organisations can reduce the risks from impersonation scams and protect both their reputation and their finances.

Protecting Your Organisation and Brand

Safeguarding one’s brand requires a holistic approach, using technology, legal measures, and robust communication. Organisations can strengthen their defences against impersonation scams and help protect their brand reputation by taking practical steps:

  • Enhance and maintain your digital security: Use tools like spam filters and multi-factor authentication, and implement regular monitoring for suspicious activity.
  • Teach your team: Provide regular training to help staff identify phishing attempts, unusual emails, and other deceptive tactics. Ensure they know what your brand looks like and even things like social handles etc. that cyber criminals try to mimic in documentation. 
  • Establish trademark protection: Secure your brand legally to prevent unauthorised use and ensure your brand’s integrity.
  • Consistently communicate: Communicate broadly with clients and employees about how you work, what information you request, through what channels and importantly the sort of information that you would never request through certain channels. 

Building a strong brand goes hand-in-hand with maintaining vigilance and implementing proactive measures to safeguard against impersonation scams. Staying informed about common tactics and warning signs not only protects your organisation and clients from financial harm, but also upholds your brand’s integrity. For advice on strengthening your brand, email us at today.

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