You may think someone using your online identity to create a fake account doesn’t really have long-term consequences, but it can. Here’s how.
Quite simply, its digital identity theft. Cyber-criminals create a profile on a social platform using an individual’s personal information to trick others into thinking the fake profile belongs to a real person who they can trust. The end goal is to exploit those who interact with the fake account. Scammers impersonate both individuals and companies.
There are several different types of scams.
Criminals create a new, fake profile using personal information gathered from an existing profile.
Criminals break into legitimate accounts and use them to distribute malicious or fraudulent content.
A bot is a software application that runs automated tasks online. Bots are used to create numerous fake accounts quickly. This activity is virtually unrestricted as regulations aren’t in place to cover the implications of bot accounts on social platforms.
This involves duplicating the identity of business executives so criminals can interact with people inside the target’s company and with potential business partners.
Using trademarked content, fraudsters set up fake business pages, engage in conversations with genuine social media users, run fake promos and respond to customer support questions.
It is easy for cyber-criminals to break into social media accounts. They use personal information gained from data breaches. Credential stuffing or brute-forcing is where a hacker tries multiple combinations of usernames and passwords against your accounts. They also use timing effectively to avoid being detected by the social platforms’ automated security systems. Phishing is also a common tactic used to gain control of social media accounts. The link usually leads to a fake page that asks you to fill in your username and password. Unfortunately, once your data is out there, there’s no way to reverse the process.
Here's what you need to do to minimise the damage:
Your best defence is common sense. The risk of impersonation on social platforms is bound to increase as synthetic, AI-generated content gives criminals new tools to manipulate users. Choose difficult passwords and keep an eye on your profile. Act quickly if you think you have been hacked.
Stay updated on the latest scams. At Sasfin we will continue to provide valuable information to keep you informed.