Few people can boast of not having found fake profiles when they browse the main social networks. And it is that Twitter, Instagram or Facebook , among others, are full of people or bots that impersonate identities for different purposes, none of them unethical.
Just a few weeks ago, Patricia Fernández , mayor of Archena, denounced a Twitter account that impersonated her identity. Said false profile haunted social networks with the mayor’s own name, personal photos and under the biography “next president of the PP of the Region of Murcia and the regional government.”
In addition, the usurpation of identity arises at a key moment for Fernández, since he is a political figure who is in the spotlight as a possible replacement for Fernando López Miras, current President of the Murcia region.
This is the main modus operandi of fake profiles on social networks. Identity theft is not the only thing happening on the big social platforms. There is more… But it must be denounced.
Given the controversial dissemination of the account, the councilor of the municipality published a video on Twitter in which she maintains that these actions are typical of “cowardly people with the sole intention of trying to harm and discredit.” Additionally, Fernández has reported him to the National Police.
Consequently, the false profile, Patriciers (@patriciersPP), has been reported after processing the complaint filed. In this case, the injured party has solved the problem in an exemplary manner, but there are many cases in which it is more difficult to identify profiles that are not true.
What are the most typical fake profiles on networks?
Identity theft, one of the most used forms of cybercrime
As a result of this news, we spoke with Lorena García, CEO of Comunicazen and an expert in social networks, who tells us the following about these identity theft: “Politicians, large corporations or the profiles of celebrities and influencers are usually the” targets ” from cybercriminals and hackers”.
As they tell us from Comunicazen, identity theft is one of the most common types of “fraud” in social networks. “Among other objectives, by posing as a person or a company that they really are not, cybercriminals seek to extort or discredit the person or company they are trying to impersonate, or also steal personal information from users, make some type of payment or infect the device that is being used with some malware”.
How to know if we are facing fake profiles on social networks?
On many occasions we can come across profiles on social networks that are actually bots or that are managed by real people who impersonate someone. As Lorena García tells us: “When you are familiar with social networks, it is relatively easy to identify if an account is fake or not. But we have to remember that many people who use the networks often do not know how they work or if they are being victims of some type of scam.
Some indicators that can tell us that we are facing false profiles are:
- Published photos or profile photos: in case of showing perfect images, typical of models or recognized people, the photographs can be extracted from image banks. One of the easiest ways to find this out is to do a search using Google images.
- Imbalance between followers and followers: Typically, fake profiles have a large number of followers, but few followers.
- The content: many of the accounts that are created to impersonate someone, usually include photos of that person, but the descriptions are empty. In addition, many images are often published in a short time in order to “fill out” the profile and make it appear authentic.
- Inactivity: if the profile has few publications and they are also infrequent publications, it may be a fake account that is only used to impersonate a real person or company.
- Usernames are very similar (but not the same) to the username you are trying to impersonate, but include some special symbol or interspersed letters or even sometimes, when dealing with accounts created by bots, series of random numbers.
What to do if we detect a false account that tries to impersonate our identity or that of someone we know?
Lastly, we must bear in mind that currently social networks do not have all the necessary tools to identify all cybercriminals, since it is not possible to verify 100% that the person who creates the account is who they say they are.
However, from Comunicazen they give us some indications to take into account when we detect a possible false account that tries to impersonate us or that impersonates someone we know.
- First of all, notify the person that the account is impersonating, especially if it is someone we follow, since it is possible that the cybercriminal is trying to contact their followers to carry out some type of scam.
- We may also report fake accounts or suspicious activity on the social networks themselves, as this may speed up the process of removing or completely deleting the account from the platform.
In this way, we cannot ignore the fact that identity theft is a crime, so whenever we are victims of it, we must report it to the State Security Forces and Bodies.
Likewise, when dealing with false accounts on social networks, we must pay special attention, so the best way to protect ourselves is to be cautious and intervene quickly as soon as any anomaly is detected, reporting it to the authorities.