In today’s digital age, brands face the ever-present challenge of avoiding scams and protecting their reputation. With consumers becoming increasingly cautious and skeptical, it is crucial for businesses to prioritize safeguarding their brand integrity and trustworthiness.
As a web design agency in Singapore, Lemonade strongly believes that a reputable brand is essential to create the best digital experience for your customers. In this article, we will explore effective strategies that brands can employ to navigate the murky waters of potential scams, ensuring that their reputation remains untarnished and their customers continue to place their trust in them.
Scams in Singapore
With more that 300 million lost to scammers in the first half of 2023, the top 5 scams types – which make up 83.8% of the cases were job scams, e-commerce scams, fake friend call scams, phishing scams and investments scams.
4 out of 5 types of scam make use of the trust that consumers or the public have for a brand.
In this particular scam, individuals are lured by scammers who offer them commission in exchange for completing simple surveys. These fraudulent actors then present the victims with fake job opportunities as a further enticement. As per the Police, victims often receive unexpected messages through WhatsApp or Telegram, urging them to participate in surveys or questionnaires.
After completing these assigned tasks, victims would receive a relatively small commission as compensation. Once the scammers successfully entice victims with this initial reward, they proceed to invite them to join additional WhatsApp or Telegram groups to engage in supposedly more lucrative activities, as highlighted by law enforcement agencies.
These activities primarily involve manipulating the value of cryptocurrencies and providing online merchant reviews. In order to carry out these tasks, victims are required to create accounts on fraudulent websites and transfer funds to bank accounts specified by the scammers. In certain instances, the scammers may also demand that victims make significant upfront payments for various reasons.
Only when victims encounter difficulties in withdrawing their commission or find themselves unable to establish contact with the scammers do they ultimately realize that they have fallen victim to a scam.
CNA have also posted some stories from the victim on how the job scam works. You can read it here.
E-commerce scams, which are widespread on online marketplaces, encompass various fraudulent activities conducted by criminals who impersonate legitimate online sellers. These scammers employ different methods, such as creating separate websites or utilizing pages or advertisements on authentic retail websites or marketplaces.
Additionally, the term “e-commerce scams” can also encompass deceptive tactics employed by scammers during commercial transactions. For instance, they may accept payment for a product purported to be genuine, only to deliver a counterfeit or substandard item. In some cases, scammers may not deliver any product at all, leaving the buyer empty-handed.
Prevent Scams and Enhance Your Brand’s Reputation
When scam syndicates exploit a brand for fraudulent purposes, it can have detrimental effects on its reputation. This not only impacts potential customers but also leads to significant losses for the business.
Here are some methods that you can take to strengthen your brand reputation and guard against being used for scam activities.
Build Your Brand and Be Consistent
In the majority of job scam instances, victims are instructed to log in to a website that closely mimics a legitimate one. Scam syndicates employ a similar domain to host the deceptive site.
Businesses should prioritize maintaining a consistent brand image when establishing their online presence. This means ensuring uniformity in visual identity and tone of voice across all touchpoints. Consistency is crucial as it can serve as a warning sign for scam victims, as hastily created websites by the and apps scam syndicates often lack the authentic look and sound of the genuine brand.
Regularly update your website with the latest news and company updates, and revamp the website every 3-5 years to ensure that your brand stays fresh in the minds of the public.
Social Media Platform and Google Business Profile
Use your brand consistently across all your business profiles and social media platforms. If possible, maintain consistency in your social media profile URLs as well.
Ensure that information, including your address and phone number format, remains consistent. This helps potential victims to identify legitimate communication channels and avoid falling prey to fraudulent schemes
When a brand follows these practices, it signals to search engines, and they are more likely to present the legitimate site as the first organic result. This helps potential victims to learn more about your business before falling victim to a scam.
Secure your Website
Cybercriminals may attempt to hack your website to create fake pages, tricking victims into thinking they are interacting with the legitimate company. If you’re using a WordPress website, it’s advisable to install firewall plugins such as Wordfence and WPMUDEV’s Defender Pro. Additionally, whenever feasible, activate the two-factor authentication (2FA) feature from the firewall plugin to minimize the risk of hacking or unauthorized access.
For eCommerce stores, always opt for reputable payment gateways, such as Hitpay, or integrate with platforms like PayPal and Stripe. Utilize an SSL certificate to ensure constant protection of your customer data.
Educate your customers through your invoices and transaction emails to prevent them from responding to fraudulent emails. If you’re using WooCommerce, consider using Kadence WooCommerce Email Designer to modify the content of your emails
Upload Your App to Official Marketplace
In many scam scenarios, fraudsters instruct victims to download apps onto their phones. These apps are typically denied entry into official marketplaces due to their malicious nature. Consequently, scammers persuade victims to install the APK version instead.
If your business necessitates customers to use a specific app, make sure to upload it to an official marketplace rather than distributing it via APK files. Additionally, remind your customers to avoid downloading any APK versions of the app to protect their devices and personal information.
Read more about scam using APK apps
If you receive reports from scam victims, file a police report and issue a warning on your website and social media platforms. This action helps minimize the impact and decrease the number of potential victims.
Request the victim to provide the URL used during the scam and report it to the domain registrar for swift removal of the domain. To identify the domain provider, perform a search on https://who.is/, visit the domain registrar’s website, navigate to the footer menu, and locate the link for reporting abuse
Here are some reputable domain registrar and their link to report domain abuse
Scam affects our brand reputation and will erode your customers’ trust. Scams can also inflict significant harm on innocent parties. Do your part to fight scams by staying vigilant, educating others, and reporting suspicious activities to the appropriate authorities. Together, we can create a safer online environment for everyone.
Read more about how Authorities introduce measures to combat SMS-phishing scams