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Social Media Impersonation Fraud: What Is It and How to Stop It?

  • Highlights

  • Social media is making our personal information easily available online and hence many people are being targeted with impersonation frauds on such platforms

  • Social media impersonation frauds revolve around the creation of fake profiles of you or someone you know and then using them request money or sensitive information from others

If you’ve ever encountered a ‘fake profile’ online, whether yours or of someone you know, then you’re not alone. Social media impersonation and identity theft have become a growing problem, thanks to the rapid spread of the internet and various social media platforms in our lives. 

Did you know, according to a study by the FBI, impersonation fraud has caused more than $5.3 billion in economic losses globally? One can only imagine how prevalent social media frauds in India and abroad must be to cause such significant damage.
How does impersonating someone’s social media lead to fraud? And how to avoid online fraud in such circumstances? Let’s take a look.
So, what exactly is a KYC fraud, and how can you prevent it? Let’s learn about it below:

What is social media impersonation fraud?

Social media impersonation is a type of identity theft scam. It usually involves the creation of a fake account on any of the popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Through such fake accounts, scammers use social engineering to target people and extract money or other sensitive information such as bank account/credit/debit card details or passwords.
Now, the key thing to remember here is that this fake account could either be yours or of your friends or family members. Fraudsters can easily impersonate you on social media because of readily available profile information such as your photos, date of birth, email ID, phone numbers, your likes and dislikes, and other personal details.


Modus Operandi

So, how do such social media frauds in India work? The process is usually as follows:

  1. First, fraudsters create a fake account on social media using stolen/compromised/visible profile details

  2. Next, they send requests using that account to friends, colleagues, or family members of the individual being impersonated

  3. These requests usually create a sense of urgency by asking for money for medical purposes or making payments or clearing debts. By disguising their requests as pleas for help, they can easily convince their target

  4. Gradually, fraudsters can also gain the target’s trust and leverage any private information for blackmail or pressure

Another form of impersonation on social media is when fraudsters track down user complaints with banks and financial players. Thereafter, they connect with the same users by impersonating officials or social media accounts of the said bank and then convince them to share confidential information with them.

Precautions to follow


If you’re wondering how to avoid online frauds such as the above-mentioned ones, here are the precautions that you must follow:

  1. Always report any fake profile you encounter online to the authorities

  2. Always verify whether the request you have received from a friend or relative online is genuine by confirming it with them in person or over a call

  3. Never share any personal information or make a payment to unverified sources that have connected with you on social media

  4. Remember, bank officials never ask for any info or money on social media

  5. Learn to spot a fake profile by looking for giveaways like missing profile pictures, or lack of friends or activity on the account, or incorrect personal details

  6. If you have been contacted by a profile claiming to be an official social media account of a bank or business, check whether it has been verified by the platform, the number of followers, information, website links, phone numbers mentioned, etc.

 

What to do in the case of a Bajaj-related impersonation fraud?

Any Bajaj official or the official Bajaj account will never personally contact you on social media and ask for information or payments. If you encounter any such instance, then immediately report the profile on the platform and also bring it to the notice of Bajaj. In case of fraud, you must intimate it to both the cyber-crime cell and our representatives at https://www.bajajfinserv.in/reach-us.

Savdhaan Rahein. Safe Rahein.

Read more at:
• Cautionary Note - https://www.bajajfinserv.in/cautionary-notice-new.pdf
• Infosec Page - https://www.bajajfinserv.in/infosec-pages
• Fraud Awareness Blog - https://www.bajajfinserv.in/insights/fraud-awareness

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