The safety of your customers is everything to you and your organization. That’s why cyber (phishing) scams, such as brand theft and social media impersonation, hurt businesses of all shapes and sizes.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), phishing attacks have caused more than $5.3 billion in losses worldwide.
What is Social Media Phishing?
Phishing on social networks refers to the creation of fake accounts that use the name, image, or other distinctive elements of a person, company, or organization for fraudulent purposes.
💡In general terms, it is the act of impersonating another person on social media platforms.
Social media impersonation should not be confused with the legitimate use of a brand or person, such as:
- fan accounts,
- parody or criticism,
- and information pages.
Types of social media phishing
There are many types of social media scams:
- from phishing scams that ask you to submit personal information to an external account,
- to online scams that trick you into buying products from illegitimate sellers.
We can cite :
- Le phishing. By impersonating a brand (or its employees) on social media, fraudsters seek to obtain sensitive customer data or information, such as Social Security numbers, passwords or bank details. . This type of scam on social networks is easily avoided. How ? With the use of a VPN. is a tool that creates a sort of privacy tunnel around your private information, protecting it from hacking attempts and prying eyes.
- Counterfeit. These are fraudulent brand pages that attempt to trick consumers into selling them inauthentic products. They usually operate through aggressive advertising campaigns. These target consumers of the brand and redirect them to a website outside the social network where the transaction takes place. This practice affects a multitude of sectors. But is particularly prevalent in the luxury and fashion industry.
- Les fake news. These are social media accounts that pose as politicians, celebrities, public institutions or advertising agencies, among others, with the aim of spreading false information and news.
- Scams. Although they are not always carried out by impersonating a third party, many of the main scams on the Internet (coupons, romance scams, account takeover scams, etc.) have their origins in the impersonation of identity on social media.
How to avoid phishing on social networks?
Most social media platforms make reporting tools available to data subjects. However, they often leave it up to them to identify and report cases of phishing.
The first tip is obvious: be proactive about the problem, because no one will solve it for you.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind when phishing on social media:
- Automating. In the most serious cases, it is imperative to use technology to track and report violations on a daily basis. Consistency and speed in detecting and reporting these fake social media accounts is key. Indeed, this can prevent them from expanding their database of followers. And, therefore, the damage they can cause.
- Broad Spectrum Keywords. Along with the brand name, one should search with all sorts of variations of the brand name. These include: spelling mistakes, spaces, alphanumeric combinations, etc. It is recommended to monitor commonly used hashtags or keywords in official accounts.
- Logo recognition. Image and logo recognition models are used to identify the presence of logos and other distinctive brand signs in profile images. This can be very helpful in weeding out fake accounts and avoiding the risk of confusion.
- Risk and similarity scores. The use of algorithms based on account parameters (name, description, photos, number of followers and followings, messages, date opened, etc.) helps determine the authenticity of a particular account or the risk confusion with official accounts.
A comprehensive brand protection strategy should monitor brand use outside of social media, including use in:
- domain names,
- and app stores.