FraudWatch International Blog

You are here: Home » Blog » Retail Industry Threatened by… Online Brand Abuse: Case Studies

Retail Industry Threatened by… Online Brand Abuse: Case Studies

The retail industry is one of the most targeted sectors by cyber-criminals, and for obvious reasons: it holds on to a large amount of data, handles money and represents a seemingly endless line of businesses to steal from.

How Are Cyber-Criminals Threatening Businesses Using Online Brand Abuse?

There are several types of online brand abuse that every company should be aware of, each one representing a real danger for businesses’ reputations and assets: from trademark infringement, to copyright content, brand impersonation, fake gift cards and vouchers, fake job ads and illegitimate claiming affiliation.

Case Studies: Examples of Online Brand Abuse That FraudWatch International Has Detected

Knowing your enemy is vital to stay one step ahead of the black hats: these are actual online retail brand abuse examples that we detected here at FraudWatch International.

Trademark Infringement

The Method:

  • Using trademarked material without permission (brand name, logo, photos…) in order to mislead customers

The Risks:

  • Unknowing customers trusts a website thinking it is operated by/related to the brand owner
  • Creates customers’ frustration and reduces the trust in the brand
  • Customers’ details and identity are at risk of being stolen

Example:

 

Copyright Content

The Method:

  • Making use of copyrighted protected material (images, product descriptions… copied directly from the brand website) without permission for monetary gain

The Risks:

Divert revenue and sales from the legitimate brand owner to the perpetuator

Example:

 

Brand Impersonation

The Method:

  • Pretending to be a legitimate website owned/operated by the brand owner, using the brand’s name and logo

The Risks:

  • Unknowing customers trust a website thinking it is operated by/related to the brand owner
  • Creates customers’ frustration and reduces the trust in the brand
  • Customers’ details and identity are at risk of being stolen

Example:

Fake Gift Cards/Vouchers

The Method:

  • Using the brand’s name and logo to trick consumers into thinking they will receive a gift card or voucher from the brand owner after having fill in details (information to sell to marketing firms and/or credit card details)

The Risks:

  • Unknowing consumers believe they won/purchased a gift card/voucher from the brand owner
  • Creates consumers’ frustration and reduces the trust in the brand
  • High possibility of consumers suffering a monetary loss

Example:

Fake Job Ads

The Method:

  • Using the brand’s name and logo, posting a job offer which is not actually being advertised by the brand owner, in order to steal from users’ details or trick them into performing unwanted tasks (sometimes illegal)

The Risks:

  • Unknowing users believe they are applying for a legitimate position
  • Creates users’ frustration and reduces the trust in the brand
  • Possible law infringement
  • Consumers are at risk of identity theft

Example: 

Illegitimate Claiming Affiliation

The Method:

  • Using the brand’s name and logo, a website is claiming to provide services to several well-known brands in an attempt to gain legitimacy through the trust in major brands

The Risks:

  • Unknowing customers believe the website they buy from or browse on is affiliated with the brand owner
  • Creates clients’ frustration and reduces the trust in the brand

Example:

 

 FraudWatch International Online Brand Abuse Protection Service

Every brand abuse case can differ slightly in nature and in threat to an organisations brand and users. FraudWatch International will work to assess these on a case-by-case basis and provide best efforts to have any brand abuse content removed/resolved.

FraudWatch International has had great success over the years removing thousands of cases of unauthorised brand abuse targeting our clients’ brands.

How to Protect Your Retail Business from Online Brand Abuse

In today’s over-connected world, your clients and consumers can now access your brand via different devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops and IOT devices. Being everywhere also means being attacked everywhere.

Here are a few tips on how you can protect your brand online:

  • Communicate with your customers to current trends criminals undertake to scam consumers. The more your customers know the less likely they are to fall victim to an attack.
  • Ensure you and your organisation have a strategy in place to be locating infringing material against your brands and staff members (specifically executives). The quicker this content is found the sooner it can be resolved.
  • Deploy a strategy to have offending content removed or resolved as quickly as possible, whether this is through internal channels, FraudWatch International or another vendor. The longer this material is exposed to your customer base, the more damage it can cause.Receive Blog updates to your Inbox! Subscribe Now

Sales Enquiry