An estate agency has been targeted by scammers who leave fake reviews if they haven’t been given a pay-off.
Minors & Brady in Norfolk received a Facebook message saying it would be the victim of a “reputation attack” unless a payment of £199 was made via the Bitcoin cryptocurrency system.
The agency ignored the attack but 24 hours later was the subject of negative reviews.
Similar attacks were made on the reputations of two other firms in the same area - a mortgage company and a florists - after they, too, refused to pay.
Jamie Minors, who runs the agency, told local media he received a message saying: “I would like to inform you that I have been paid to carry out a reputation attack on your company. This will be started with 25 negative, one star reviews. The attack will continue every day with an additional 25 negative reviews if you do not decide to pay £199.”
Minors secured a larger number of positive reviews from genuine customers to outweigh the fake negatives but the scammer returned, making a similar threat.
“In tough times of Coronavirus and with small businesses like us trying to survive, it’s a tough one for morale and energy.
“Luckily, we posted about it and the support from people has been incredibly overwhelming, with hundreds liking, reviewing our page, and sending words of encouragement throughout these tough times. We’re not going to pay out of principle.”