It is very simple to create fake social media profiles and takes little effort. You make or buy a new email address and a phone number, fill in the registration screen and that’s most of it done.
However, making them believable takes more time and effort.
Some scammers take the time to do this as part of what are usually phishing scams – aimed at gaining people’s confidential data for sale to other criminals.
Criminals create these fake profiles on social media for a variety of reasons, including:-
- A profile for phishing
- Support profiles to make the master profile more believable
- For advertising of scam products
- To build up lists of people on social media, to sell to other criminals
Generally, the key is to create subsidiary profiles to support the central one (master profile) and these need to have a reasonable level of information and posts but not in great detail as they are only to support the master profile.
The master profile needs to be as detailed as possible – full education history, current and previous occupations, qualifications, pastimes etc. Then register that profile with Facebook groups or similar on other platforms and so on.
Once the hackers have built this information, they may be ready to launch their attacks – Phishing or otherwise.
If you are contacted by someone you don’t know and feel there is reason to check if they are genuine then look in detail at dates the information was added and if it’s all recent – that’s a warning flag. Check their friends, employers etc.
For most of us this level of investigating is not needed, but if you have access to sensitive information or think someone may try to steal your identity – then take care.
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