When cyber fraudsters create a social media profile using the identity details like name, address, mail id, photograph etc., of victim, without their knowledge, it is called a fake profile creation. The fraudsters create fake profile with an intention of causing harm to the victim. The fraudsters use the fake profile to spread false or fake information, damage the reputation of the victim, and may also send friend requests to other friends of victim to gain financial benefit.
Dangers of fake social media profile creation
Using the fake profile created the fraudster may commit offences-
- Spread fake and false information
- Damage reputation of victim
- Send false friend requests
- Lure children and teen agers with fake identity
- Makes the friends and family of victim vulnerable to cyber-attacks like phishing, fake links, malware attacks etc.,
- Financial fraud may also happen by requesting money using messenger/message services
- The fraudsters create a fake profile with the available or collected identity related information (through various means like using social engineering tactics, phishing, recent photographs, events/functions, achievements/family and other details of others like army personnel; popular personalities; professional working abroad etc.,)
With the fake social media profile created they can
- send friend requests to the victim to trap them
- post false messages to damage the reputation of the person being impersonated
- request for money/gifts; show false romantic interests for money; try to sell false goods/items etc.,
Good online practices to safeguard against fake profiles
- Avoid sharing your personal information like address, mobile number, personal mail id and other sensitive identity related information on social media and restrict access.
- Do not share your personal high resolution pictures online publicly on social media accounts
- Share groups pictures rather than Individual images and post limited information only in the social media platforms
- Never send money to the requests sent on social media accounts
- Never accept friend requests from unknown persons without appropriate verification and confirmation, or call to verify before paying.
- Never click on suspicious links or download anything until you verify the authenticity of the source.
- Use different passwords for different social media accounts and emails.
- Be alert of any queries about your online actions that you are not aware about.
- Enable two factor (2FA) or Multifactor Authentication (MFA provided by the social media platforms.
- Report against any fake profile on the social media platform and also on cybercrime portal cybercrime.gov.in
- Be aware of security and privacy features and enable them on the social media accounts (https://www.facebook.com/help/; https://help.twitter.com/en; https://help.instagram.com/; https://faq.whatsapp.com/)