Fake profiles on social networks and social engineering: how to protect yourself from online scams?

There is more in social media than meets the eye. Profiles that appear legitimate can hide dangerous pitfalls. These are fake profiles, a growing threat on social media. They assume the identities of stores, hotels, restaurants and even friends to carry out online scams.

This is an alert to a problem that affects many. Understand better about the world of fake profiles and how criminals use social engineering to deceive users.

Fake profiles: a growing threat on social media

In the digital universe, a fake profile is a fraudulent digital representation, created to simulate the online presence of a real person. They are generally generated using invented information, and these profiles can be found on various online platforms, from social networks to forums and shopping sites.

Creating a fake profile can be simple. With a temporary email address, a photo taken from the internet and a fictitious name, it is possible to create a virtual identity that, at first glance, appears real. For example, it can impersonate well-known stores offering discounts, and lead victims to provide sensitive information or even make payments that never materialize.

Scams with fake profiles: strategies used by criminals

These deceptive devices manifest themselves in different ways, from offering products that don't exist, to requesting payment via messages. The sophistication of these strategies often leads victims to believe in the authenticity of the profiles and the proposals presented. However, the financial consequences for those who suffer these scams are significant, resulting in losses that are difficult to recover. 

Furthermore, exposure to risks, both financial and personal, is a worrying factor in this scenario, as confidential information can be captured and used for fraudulent practices or to entice more victims. Therefore, the need to be alert and well informed about these strategies is essential to avoid falling victim to this type of fraud.

Social engineering: the power of persuasion in virtual manipulation

Social engineering consists of maneuvers created to deceive, exploit, and gain people's trust, aiming to obtain confidential information or induce them to carry out certain actions. The key is in the ability to manipulate both logic and human emotions.

By taking advantage of fake profiles, scammers exploit emotional vulnerabilities. Tactics such as arousing compassion, creating a sense of imminent danger, offering illusory advantages and even seducing the victim are some of the tricks used. Furthermore, trust, intimidation and curiosity are triggered in this context, as a resource for manipulation.

How to protect yourself: tips to identify fake profiles and avoid scams

In the current scenario, it is very important to be aware of and prepared to deal with the threat of fake profiles. Being wary of overly generous offers is a good starting point, as is restricting personal information exposed on social media.

Furthermore, when you come across suspicious notifications, such as non-existent debts or unrecognized purchases, you need to remain calm. Avoid clicking on links immediately or responding to messages, check the authenticity of the source through official channels.

If you are contacted by companies or public agencies on social media, check whether the profile is authentic, looking for verification seals or confirming on the organization's official website. In suspicious situations, avoid providing information and seek contact through official channels. If an acquaintance asks for strange favors or money, be sure of their identity before helping, as profiles can be hacked.

Above all, be wary of approaches that involve requests for personal information or money, especially from unknown sources. Choose in-person solutions or known channels to resolve pending issues. If you are a victim of any of these situations, the advice is to seek help from experts and report it to the authorities.

Impact on registered brands: companies’ responsibility for prevention

Given the impacts that fake profiles have on society, brands face the responsibility of ensuring that their identity is not usurped without permission, as this can harm their reputation and consumer trust. Scams of this type can result in financial damage and tarnish the image that the brand has built over time.

Collaboration with social media platforms and websites, and competent authorities is essential for the rapid removal of fraudulent profiles, ensuring that brand integrity is preserved and consumer trust is maintained. These actions strengthen brand protection and promote a safer and more trustworthy online environment for everyone.

To avoid such situations, it is necessary to adopt preventive practices, such as constant monitoring of social networks and reporting fake profiles, as well as informing the public about how to identify their official pages and channels. To help with this task, ClearSale's Brand Protection guarantees protection against fake profiles on the internet. Its Brand Monitoring function searches, identifies, reports, and takes down URLs of fake pages, fake applications, and fake profiles on social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Youtube, Linkedin, and others.

The integrity of your brand is a public commitment capable of protecting the company and consumers. Therefore, be aware of market movements and internet security to keep your company safe.