It looks like a real invoice from Seznam. The data matches, the logo is strikingly similar to the one used by the Czech internet company. A classic call to pay for advertising services. There’s a catch though – it’s a scam and the money would go to the scammers. And the number of these fake calls to pay has been increasing recently.
“It is evident from the invoice that our logo and the name of the Firmy.cz service are being misused,” Seznam.cz PR and internal communications manager Aneta Kapuciánová tells SZ Byznys. “The basic registration in the Firmy.cz catalog is always free with us, then additional services or campaigns that the customer can order for his company are paid for.”
According to Kapuciánová, the fact that the invoices look realistic is also a problem. “Apart from the logo, which is not ours (definitely not up-to-date, perhaps it is close to something historical in appearance), it is unfortunately not possible to simply reveal that it is not our invoice,” warns a spokesman for Seznam.
“The billing information is correct, but what is not correct is the contact email and bank details. But the person who wants to pay the invoice cannot detect that at first glance,” she added.
Seznam.cz is the parent company of Seznam média as, under which Nauzal falls.
This is not the first such case that Seznam deals with. Similar frauds were carried out on his behalf two years ago. In addition, attackers usually choose entities that have cooperated with services such as Firmy.cz in the past or are still cooperating. Therefore, potential victims will not find it strange that the company is contacting them.
Unnecessary payments for business
“We informed the law enforcement authorities about the cases and we informed our users on our blog,” adds Kapuciánová, adding that if a user receives a similar invoice, he should not pay it and can report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Five tips on how not to fly
1. Do not pay for listing.
2. Demand a clear designation of which company you are talking to.
3. Definitely reject offers that are not credible, already in a telephone conversation.
4. Do not pay any invoices and send them back with a written refusal.
5. Ask for advice if you are at a loss.
The list is not the only one that solves similar problems. For example, the Alza.cz e-shop also warns against them. “False ads on social networks, fraudulent SMS and e-mails, fake websites and now also advertisements on sales websites and so-called online marketplaces – everywhere fraudsters abuse the good name of Alza and try to deceive customers,” the company warns of the variants of abuse in press release. This year alone, she handled hundreds of similar cases.
Fraudulent SMS and entire websites
The types of fraud are different, for example fraudsters advertise goods on bazaar markets. “When negotiating a deal, they ask interested parties to pay for the goods in advance or for an advance on the account,” Alza describes the technique.
“The fraudster then sends the victim the Alza account number with a variable symbol to his pre-made order. In this way, the cheated person unwittingly pays for his order, and nothing prevents the fraudster from picking up the goods in Alza.”
However, classic fraudulent SMS and e-mails, which for example inform about a win in a non-existent competition, continue. But the link usually leads to another page where the victim has to fill in personal data or make a payment.
“The fraudsters then use the stolen data, for example, to create expensive orders on Alz at the victim’s expense. Thanks to the functioning of the security team and close cooperation with the police, we have already blocked several such orders in the order of hundreds of thousands in a timely manner. In several cases, we even helped to apprehend a specific perpetrator,” adds Chief Compliance Officer Alzy Pavla Vrbková.
But at the same time, she adds that the apprehension of perpetrators is rather exceptional. In addition to the fact that attacks also come from abroad, a skilled hacker leaves only a minimum of traces on the Internet. Alza also warns against fraudulent advertisements on social networks or a fake e-shop website. Here, too, the rule is that one should be careful, especially if the URL of the website matches.
The time of year also plays into the cards for the attackers. “Cyber attackers take advantage of people’s willingness to spend on gifts and take advantage of their inattention or ignorance when shopping online. Attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated, sometimes it is very difficult to distinguish them from the original, therefore we strongly warn customers to check any suspicious-looking offer directly with a specific seller,” advises Ondřej Moravčík, head of the press department of the Police Presidium of the Czech Republic.