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Your customers’ security is paramount to you and your organization. That’s why cyber scams like brand and social impersonation harm businesses of all shapes and sizes. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), impersonation attacks between 2017-2022 caused losses of more than $2 billion. By stealing your clients’ sensitive information and money, this can erode the confidence of the victims and ultimately impact your customers’ trust in your organization. In this post, we will take a look at the different types of impersonation, and how brands can fight back.
Impersonation in social networks refers to accounts that use the name, image, or other identifying elements of a person, company, or organization for fraudulent purposes. Generally speaking, it is the act when a person pretends to be someone else on social media platforms. Social media impersonation differs from other legitimate uses of a brand or person, such as fan accounts, parodies or criticism, and information pages.
Although similar, identity theft and impersonation are not exactly the same thing. Impersonation by itself is not a criminal offense (unless the person being impersonated is a police officer, a doctor, or a solicitor). When it comes to the impersonation of a brand, however, the actions taken in order to carry out such an act involve illegal actions, such as trademark infringements, breaches of privacy, and financial fraud.
Identity theft involves the theft of your personal information or your business’s private data in order to gain access to your financial details. Impersonation is more simply the act of someone pretending to be an individual or a business.
There are many different types of impersonation, from phishing scams that ask for personal information to be sent to an outside account to full-blown online fraud that has you buying products from illegitimate sellers. Here are some of the most common ways scammers have been impersonating brands:
The way impersonators operate is very diverse and depends on the social network, the objectives pursued by the impersonator and his level of sophistication. However, there are some common behaviors that have been observed in different impersonation attacks:
Most platforms provide reporting tools for those affected, but they usually leave the responsibility of identifying and reporting any impersonation to the impersonated individual or organization. In this regard, the first piece of advice is clear: be proactive about the problem, because no one is going to solve it for you.
However, if you’re a growing brand and impersonators increasingly target you, you may find that there aren’t just one or two copycat accounts lurking, but hundreds, if not thousands of fraudulent accounts profiteering off your brand. At this point, manually taking each one down becomes a game of Whack-A-Mole. Instead, you should consider an Automated Social Media Protection Software that scopes out impersonators before your brand reputation and profits fall into their hands.
The following are some key considerations to have in mind when dealing with social impersonation:
Click on the following links in order to find out how to report impersonation accounts on specific social media platforms:
Red Points’ Social Media Impersonation Removal Solution detects and takes down impersonators on social media, apps, and standalone websites 24/7.
Next, Red Points will use image recognition software and bots to detect any infringements, listing them in your Red Points dashboard. Try detecting 36,000 infringements without the help of bots…
Image recognition and keyword search will filter thousands of brand impersonation infringements. On your dashboard, you will then be able to review (1) Red Points’ selections, and attend to social media infringement cases that, according to your pre-established rules, the platforms considers high risk (2).
Depending on the rules you set for the automated takedown process, you can either request the takedown of accounts that Red Points has detected, or you can let Red Points do that automatically.
Red Points Impersonation Removal Dashboard allows you to visualize a lot of data about your infringements, including which apps are most often used for impersonation.
This is a powerful tool for sharing data with relevant stakeholders and tracking the success of your brand protection efforts.
Social media impersonations represent a growing problem affecting thousands of brands and individuals across most platforms. The associated risks include loss of revenue and traffic and, most notably, reputational issues and loss of consumer trust. Brands must take a proactive approach to the problem, ensuring that a comprehensive and scalable protection system is in place to identify and remove such infringements as quickly as possible. Technology and expertise in intellectual property enforcement are key elements to ensure the success of this strategy. With the Red Points’ Impersonation Removal solution, you can take advantage of machine learning and AI to automatically find and remove fake sites, apps, and domains to protect your customers and reputation.