For decades, the world has debated over where to draw the line between pastiche and plagiarism. Some see a Warhol and call it fine art. Others see a rip-off of Campbell soup cans and Marilyn Monroe. We see it time and again in music. Notably, the family of the late Marvin Gaye successfully sued musicians Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke for copyright infringement for their 2013 song “Blurred Lines.” The family accused the singers of copying the sound and feel of Gaye’s 1977 single “Got to Give It Up.” The lawsuit stirred up such strong feelings about where inspiration ends and copyright violation begins, a collection of more than 200 musicians filed an amicus cruiae brief supporting Williams and Thicke, stating the verdict threatened to punish songwriters for creating new music inspired by prior works. In other words, it has proven to be nearly impossible to unblur the lines (if you will) between creativity, tribute, feel, and intent. So then, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery in art, then impostor scams are the sincerest form of dishonesty in non-creative circles.
In this article, we cover:
- The not-so-fine line between creative inspiration and impostor scams.
- How “investors” got fleeced out of $2 million by perpetrators impersonating a tech billionaire.
- Brand protection service by YouMail.
Impostor scams occur when fraudsters pose as someone or something they are not. A common impostor scam you’re likely familiar with is the IRS robocall scam. The recording claims to be the IRS and demands recompense and/or private personal information for some made-up transgression. Other robocall attacks claim to be your financial institution, the FBI, local authorities — really any organization or brand whose call would give you pause.
YouMail recently issued a new robocall threat advisory on an impostor scam being carried out at a massive scale. The Amazon Impostor robocall scam has been making between 100 million and 150 million robocalls each month, tricking consumers into believing that suspicious activities on their Amazon account must be resolved immediately. This scam very recently defrauded a vulnerable senior citizen in California of $40,000 by claiming that $400 had been taken from her bank through her Amazon account. Our CEO Alex Quilici comments, “In the current climate, consumers simply can’t trust that any calls claiming to be from Amazon are actually from Amazon.” However, Amazon isn’t the only brand suffering at the hand of impostors.
The Big Elon Musk Heist
As horrific and cruel as it is to deceive and take advantage of individuals, the organizations being impersonated take damage too. The granite trust that brands build over years, decades, even centuries is slowly chipped away. As much as consumers cannot afford to let their guard down, neither can brands. Recently, fraudsters pulled off a particularly heinous imposter scam, both deceiving individuals and compromising world-famous brands. The perpetrators impersonated Elon Musk, billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX, propositioning “investors” to send cryptocurrency for his next big moneymaking venture. Victims lost a total of $2 million over a period of six months. Further, the FTC found that nearly 7,000 people lost a staggering $80 million from October 2020 through March 2021 to various scams targeting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
This problem is bigger than the intrigue and wild speculation over digital money. With hackers hitting bigger targets on what feels like a daily basis, enterprise-level brand protection services are more imperative than ever.
YouMail’s brand protection service prevents bad actors from using your brand in their fraud campaigns. When your brand’s good name is being misused, we work with carriers and US authorities to shut them down.
We work directly with USTelecom, the industry’s robocall mitigation agency, and its member telecommunications companies that carry the calls. Our forensics analyze metadata to provide the objective evidence that carriers need to stop fraud at the source.
AI-powered analytics detect fraud campaigns that use your brand’s name, no matter their tactics: human or synthesized speech, DID spoofing, variations in campaign duration, frequency, carrier network, or source location.
Our brand threat reports provide complete visibility into the brand threat landscape. We uniquely identify and classify fraud campaigns and use metrics to provide insight into campaign activity and reach.
Our live call sensor network provides 360-degree visibility across US carriers to rapidly identify and respond to emerging brand imposters. And we use campaign surveillance and alerting to confirm that your mitigation efforts against specific campaigns are working.
As with all our services, our insights come from a rich database compiled from answering billions of live user calls across all carriers. We are trusted and deployed by major service providers and enterprises, and our data is cited by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NPR, and other news outlets.
Our brand protection service taps into what we do best: continuous monitoring of robocall and human fraud activity, providing brands with detailed intelligence about campaign types, frequency, and sources. There’s really no better way to stay ahead of these imposter scams than to have YouMail as your eyes and ears on the ground.
By implementing a brand protection service, you’re also saving your customers from monetary fraud losses that hurt your organization from the inside. Further, your call answer rates for outbound campaigns will rise as you remove the pungent smell of imposter scams from your brand.
Want to get started removing the tarnish fraudsters put on your brand’s hard-earned name every day? Stop the plagiarism. Expose the imposter fraud. Schedule a demo of YouMail’s brand protection service today.
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- The Importance of Call Blocking for Senior Citizens: How to Protect Against Scammers and Nuisance Calls
- Securing Your Kids’ First Phone: A Parent’s Guide to Blocking Bad Websites, Protecting Against Scams, and Teaching Your Kids About Online Safety