An individual receives a direct message from the CEO of their company requesting login information for key accounts. The employee responds because the profile picture and past posts are consistent with the CEO’s public persona. Two days later, it is discovered that the CEO account was fake and the information transfer resulted in a security breach and serious financial implications for the company.
This scenario occurs more frequently than you might think. Known as digital impersonation, a fraudulent but legitimate-looking social media page is created for a person or business. According to the business data platform Statista, in 2019 alone, Facebook took down 6.5 million fake profiles. False accounts also abound on other applications including Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Digital impersonations pose an ongoing threat due to the simplicity of the registration process—most social media platforms do not require proof of identity. Compounding this issue is the proliferation of personal information available online. The more a person’s information is publicly available, the easier it is to impersonate them.
When a fake account is created, bad actors intend to harm individuals or businesses by posting inaccurate content or potentially committing fraud. Digital impersonations are commonly created in order to solicit financial information for a monetary gain. Perpetrators can use the fraudulent account to gather information to physically threaten their target or to tarnish the victim’s social or professional reputation by posting false information.
Insite’s intelligence analysts have extensive experience combating digital impersonations. They utilize proprietary software to remove these fake accounts that could potentially harm our clients. Furthermore, our intelligence team works continuously to remove clients’ personal information from the internet, making it harder for malicious actors to impersonate someone successfully in the first place.