What are Imposter Profiles?
Imposter Profiles are when someone steals your logo or company information to establish an online account, and essentially “pretend” to be you or your business. In most cases, these are through online merchant sites or apps that allow cash transactions, but we have seen it happen on social media accounts like Facebook, Linked In, Etsy, and Food Ordering/Delivery Apps. During the COVID pandemic, we have encountered this more frequently with the small business community. The goal of this identity thief is to offer similar goods or services that your company provides, in hope of intercepting the money and either delivering nothing or delivering a less-quality product/service to your potential customer.
The unfortunate result is an unhappy customer for you to handle. Depending on the situation, that customer may leave negative comments about your business or call with complaints about orders you have no record of filling. In all cases, it simply creates an unnecessary headache for your business or brand
How to Protect Your Business from Imposter Profiles
The best way to protect your business from Imposter Profiles is to become keenly aware of where your brand is listed, and creating a regular schedule of monitoring these sites for anything that looks suspicious.
Especially during the COVID Pandemic, we saw many small restaurants and bakeries who moved to online orders and delivery services encounter this challenge. One client had someone physically come into her location frustrated that their order online was never delivered, only to find out that they placed their order with GrubHub and the establishment actually never had any part of the order process. Looking online, the customer never would have known the difference, but the Business Owner quickly knew that they never authorized their business to be on that platform so she was quick to contact them and ask for their profile to be removed. – Julia Eudy, CEO Golden Services Group
Here’s another example of a bakery in Florissant that ran into this situation. In this case, our own Julia Eudy was contacted by Zara Barker, a reporter for the local Fox Affiliate to provide some expert guidance for business owners when this story originally aired on February 4th, 2021.