Ad agencies are more exposed than ever now that a majority of the country is working from home. Standard scam prevention measures are no longer effective when in-person communication isn’t an option. 

Dozens of scams can be instantly detected and avoided by basic in-person confirmations, but that’s largely obsolete now. 

Many agencies will have frequent face-to-face meetings online, but there is a large part of daily business that won’t be conducted in-person. 

BBB urges businesses to consider the following suggestions and implementations to avoid being victimized.


BBBs Business Email Compromised Study outlines several ways that businesses are victimized during normal times. These are obviously not normal times! 

When employees are physically separated, in-person verifications for emails, texts, or similar requests involving financials or wire transfers are no longer possible. 

Phishing attacks will undoubtedly increase and expose millions to additional risks. Ensure your employees are aware of the risks and provide effective countermeasures. Put policies in place so requests for financial information or transfers are verified first. 


 If you don’t already have a security training program in place, now is the time to beef up staff training. It only takes one successful phishing attack to compromise a company’s network, or potentially steal millions of dollars. BBBs State of Cyber Security is an excellent source that’s free.


The FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3) has noted an increase in complaints regarding Human Resource Department scams. This began in 2015 when University Payroll Departments were targeted

The latest twist involves HR Departments receiving calls or emails from a current employee asking to update their direct deposit or mailing information to receive paychecks. In reality, the request isn’t genuine, and the employee’s paycheck has just been stolen. 

BBB urges businesses to implement a two-tiered verification process to avoid this. If an employee calls in from a number not on file, ask to call them back at the number listed with the business. Likewise, if email requests are received, call the employee to verify that the request was legitimate. 


In the event that your company is largely impacted by the pandemic and cannot meet orders like normal, BBB urges you to clearly communicate this to existing and future clients to avoid unreasonable expectations that can results in complaints. Failure to explain that orders may be delayed or canceled will only create frustration and can hurt future business opportunities.



In the event your business is forced to increase pricing, BBB urges that you clearly explain exactly why this is the case. Consumers understand that buyers and sellers all over the world are impacted by shortages and factories closing. Providing sincere communication will help to avoid accusations of price gouging and similar marketplace behaviors.


Imposter scams involve scammers stealing the name of a legitimate business and pretending to be them. These can take dozens of forms, but many involve employment scams, fake check or wire scams, mystery shopping scams, and more. If you believe your company has been impersonated, file a submission with BBB’s Scam Tracker. Based on the situation, BBB may be able to place an alert on your company’s business profile so you are not accused of potentially fraudulent behavior.


Report all suspected instances of identity theft to the FBI’s IC3 Department. While many businesses are hesitant to admit that they have been compromised, investigators cannot pursue the criminals without the necessary information.


BBB was founded by advertisers and for advertisers. We’re happy to provide information in less than secure times and we hope it will increase the security of your agencies.  

If you believe your agency has been compromised, don’t wait. Take quick action to ensure that further exposure is limited and do not be afraid to ask for help. 

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