Having your company impersonated on social media can be the first step in a long line of fraudulent attacks that may do irreparable harm to your brand. There are a number of reasons cyber-criminals choose this form of brand abuse, ranging from the intention to direct users to a phishing website, to sell counterfeit merchandise, or even to simply damage your brand. In this blog we’ll deep dive into the main ways your brand can be manipulated through social media and what you can do to avoid this from happening.
Fake social media profiles
The most common form of social media impersonation is when a bad actor sets up a profile using your company’s name and branding. The main goal behind this is typically to leverage your brand’s reputation and follower’s trust to trick them into taking action they normally wouldn’t take. They may host fake giveaways and competitions or direct users to an associated fake website in order to convince them to provide their personal information. In some cases, their intent may be to post malicious content that can destroy your reputation.
Fraudulent tags, mentions and affiliations
Another way cyber-criminals can use your successful branding for their own gain is by fraudulently tagging or mentioning your brand in content or by falsely implying they’re affiliated with your company in some way. For example; if they’re trying to gain buy-in on a phishing scheme, they may list your company as a supporter in order to seem more legitimate.
By following a fraudulent profile on social media, users may be more likely to make purchases of merchandise they falsely believe are the real deal. Not only does this mean you’ve lost control of the quality of a product that is being sold under your name, but it could also lead to a loss of revenue for your company.
What can you do to reduce the threat of brand impersonation?
Arguably the most significant threat to your brand when it comes to social media impersonation is your organisation’s reputation. People that interact with these fake profiles tend to believe they’re legitimate and therefore whatever takes place could have a significant affect on how they view your company. It’s important you’re doing everything you can to counteract this. Some of the key ways you can achieve this, are:
Have your legitimate social media profiles endorsed and confirmed as the real deal
We’ve all seen the blue tick next to a Twitter handle and the verification badge on Instagram – savvy social media users are looking for these confirmations more and more. If you have these symbols on your profile, it can go a long way to re-inforcing your own social media profile’s legitimacy and reducing the number of users that fall victim to the fake ones.
Reach out to the platform when you identify fraudulent profiles
Most major social media platforms have a reporting process for fraudulent profiles. Make sure you’re flagging it any time you notice your company name, branding and logo being used without your consent.
Leverage the experience and connections of a digital network protection company
It’s not always as straight forward as simply checking out social media and trying to find profiles impersonating your brand – and that is likely not what you signed up for. By partnering with an expert team of analysts like those at FraudWatch, you can be confident that the internet is consistently being trawled for bad actor’s that seek to do harm to your company. Reach out to the team at FraudWatch today.
For more information on social media brand impersonation, take a look at our blogs on managing the risks of executive social media presence and social media threats you need to be aware of.