How to Avoid Being "Hijacked" by Scammers

Posted on 11/08/2013

Plenty of people are hit by scammers, but it can also happen to businesses. According to the Better Business Bureau some crooks are hijacking a business's name as a way to convince customers to make purchases. Want to know how to avoid being a victim of this growing trend? Follow these five tips.

Buy From Trusted Source
We're entering a busy season for online shopping and just because you type in a company's URL doesn't mean you won't end up buying from a scammer who has hijacked the website. The savvy crooks can put up fake web forms to capture credit card information. Make sure you are buying from a trusted source with security measures in place.

Check with the BBB
The Better Business Bureau tracks hijacking scams. Stay up to date with recent scams that have happened to ensure you're buying from secure companies. Visit to search through reviews.

Follow Up Personally
For business owners, it's important to be vigilant. They should follow up on large orders with a personal phone call to verify the purchase. The BBB says one supplier did that with a large order from an unfamiliar company and when he did the business owner discovered he'd been hijacked. Although his name and logo were on the purchase order, he had nothing to do with it. The merchandise was going to an unfamiliar storage facility in another city. Taking the time to do some quick digging stopped this scammer from doing more damage.

Beware of Downloadable Coupons
This is especially common on Black Friday or Cyber Monday when scammers impersonate trusted brands like Best Buy, Walmart or Target and claim to offer downloadable coupons. But the ads are actually a scam designed to steal personal information or install viruses on users' computers.

Be Careful Where You Click
Sometimes scammers hijack companies by creating fake Google ads. When you search for a legitimate company on Google, the ads that are displayed may actually be a front for crooks looking to distribute viruses or steal identities. Just be careful where you click because one wrong move could lead to being hijacked.

By Alison Storm

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