Genuinely pretending to be someone else in order to deceive others, especially for fraudulent gain
Fake profiles on Facebook
The world's largest social network is struggling in a battle against fake profiles as digital thieves steal identities, endanger children and hurt small businesses. The problem has become so big that Facebook said that it has disabled over 1.3 billion fake profiles just in the past year.
An example of imposter activity was reported by The Verge in December 2018. An account imitating The Verge's own FB profile commented on a legitimate thread from the company, attempting to draw users into sending bitcoin. “We are excited to be partnering with Bitcoin,” read the comment, which further claimed to be offering a giveaway in exchange for providing a small sum of bitcoin to “verify your address.”
Identity theft happens when someone uses information about a person without permission. This can be:
- name and address
- bank cards such as credit card or bank account numbers
- identity or social security number
- phone or utility account numbers
- medical insurance numbers
Imposters are much more efficient in inflicting harm when, in addition to a fake account or profile, they are in possession of any of the personal data mentioned above. This amplifies the deception and the harm impact.