Scammers chasing customer data on social media - UK

A recurring theme for everyone involved in managing the customer experience is how the number of channels used has dramatically increased in the past few years. Social networks and now mobile chat channels are increasing the ways that customers can interact with brands.

This creates a more convenient multichannel environment for customers where they can easily interact with brands in many different ways, but it also create opportunities for scams. Criminals can easily mirror branded social media channels and pretend to be helping a customer, though in reality they are just focused on accessing personal information.

I saw a recent example of this where the NatWest bank was targeted. Criminals created Twitter profiles that had believable names then populated the accounts with images and information from the real NatWest Twitter account. They made the account look as if it was authentic and really operated by the bank. They then searched for people who were asking the bank questions and answered, offering to help.

Naturally many customers would respond and would feel confident that the bank was being proactive and helpful when asking the customer to switch over to private messages. Then the operators of the rogue account would ask the customer for personal information about their account on the pretext that it is required to clear security.

It’s not just banks that have been targeted, both Apple and Amazon users have recently been targeted by text messages that asked them to enter their login details. Many of these attempts to solicit information are highly professional and look exactly as they would from the real organisation.

Customers have started expecting a more engaging relationship with brands. They are messaging brands and expecting a reply. They are delighted when brands proactively send useful messages and participate in discussions. People now have a greater expectation that brands will message them now and again and if the message says something like “we are contacting you because of a possible security breach – click here to confirm your details so you can remain safe” then is it a surprise that some people are caught out?

It’s up to the big brands to protect their customer networks, but they also need to educate their customers. It’s one thing to chat with customers on Twitter, but brands need to establish ground rules and make them known – such as we will NEVER ask for your personal details on Twitter. They need to make it clear so that customers can be suspicious of fraud more easily, but can still enjoy the engagement they want with the real brand.

What do you think about the dangers for customers in a multichannel environment? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn.


Photo by Dave Mathis licensed under Creative Commons.


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