Scamming – what effect does it have on big brands?
Scamming has become so varied and widespread that almost everyone in our recent study could recall at least one incidence. The most common type of scams recalled were emails telling the recipient they were entitled to money in some way, and should send their personal details through in order to claim it. Companies which scammers claimed to be from included Telstra, Optus and the banks. Some people even received emails telling the recipient to change their bank or login details because they had already been scammed!
Consumers however are wising up to these ploys, and are sceptical of any communications asking them for personal information. There is a particular mistrust of calls which appear to be from overseas. Scamming has become so common and people are so aware of it that some even wonder if the genuine communications are scams. As one respondent said “I have received genuine emails that I thought were scams and I only realised when the bank actually sent me a letter by snail mail!”
The implications for companies arising from the increase in scamming in recent years are surprisingly not all negative. On the down side, given that the most common reaction by a consumer to a scam email or call is to contact the company that the scammer is pretending to be, rather than the police or authorities, the level of calls and admin work for companies in dealing with people checking and reporting scams has undoubtedly increased. To add to this, if they have not done so already, companies are likely to have to work harder when contacting customers to reassure them that they are genuine, with greater security processes in place.
However what scammers are not succeeding in doing is affecting consumers’ perceptions of and trust in the big companies. In fact, the opposite appears to be happening. Scamming is in fact increasing trust in the big companies, with consumers turning to them for help in the fight against scammers. Goodwill is high, with consumers recognising it is not the company’s fault. One respondent said specifically of Telstra that “It does not make me mistrust Telstra more as it is not Telstra’s fault that people are out there pretending to be them.” Another said “It has brought me closer to Telstra, because of the sound advice by a staff officer.”The fight against scammers could just be a useful tool in building a bridge of trust between companies and their consumers.