Recently, Shop LA Style was a source of a spammer’s spoof order that was sent to thousands of inboxes confirming a recent order from their store. The spammer did not hack into their website to get a list of their customers. They already had a list of email addresses and simply used the Shop LA Style brand name to get unsuspecting people to open up the spam thinking that an order was underway from their site.
There were so many emails that it literally SHUT DOWN their server as a result. If you call their customer service 800 number you get a message from a woman pleading you to NOT leave a voicemail and apologizing almost tearfully for this spam. Shop LA Style is understandably upset since their business is at a standstill since no real orders can come in since they are so overwhelmed with the spam fraud.
What the company is doing right is to let everyone know via their facebook fan page that the email is spam and is keeping consumers updated with their findings. Their Twitter account, however, has had no new activity since November 28, 2011 and their website does not even mention the incident.
So perhaps we can take away some key lessons learned on how to handle a hacker’s havoc with consumers:
- Over communicate using all mediums: Social media especially makes it easy for brands to have dialogues instantly with consumers. Shop LA Style made good use of Facebook but neglected Twitter and their website to get the word out. Honest communication will help keep consumers championing your brand and not frustrated from a lack of communication.
- Don’t become a victim to server overload: Increase your bandwidth or have back up in case the server crashes. It makes you look more professional and not some tiny brand who can get overloaded easily.
- Have an alternate source for e-Commerce: List your e-commerce on other sites so you don’t have a glitch in sales and can keep business as usual. Even one day down can lose thousands in sales not to mention repeat consumers who might go elsewhere never to return.
You don’t know if you will be the next prey for a hacker’s hoax but at least you can arm yourself to not fall victim.