Social media exposes businesses to millions of ideal clients daily, yet identity theft on these online platforms is on the rise. Cybercriminals can now easily access the information they need to steal a brand’s identity and compromise its social media accounts.
According to a Javelin Strategy and Research study, 30% of active online users are at a higher risk of online fraud. Managing such a crisis is daunting and protecting your accounts from identity theft is paramount.
How People Steal Identities on Social Media
Most scammers use a brand’s logo from its official online sites to make their fake accounts seem legitimate. The personal information you share online makes these phoney accounts more realistic.
Some crooks go a step further and send you phishing emails that attempt to get vital information about your business.
In extreme cases, scammers use tactics that divert a brand’s online traffic, slander it, manipulate its SEO, misspell its official site names by a letter or two to trick customers, and counterfeit its products or services.
Why People Steal Online Identities
Scammers have varying reasons for stealing your identity. Some create fake accounts with your brand’s name to make money from unsuspecting clients or family members. These tricksters ask for donations or purport to run your business to mooch off its strong online presence and value.
Some trolls also use a brand name to spread hate speech or controversial messages. In other instances, a competitor or enemy steals online identities to post malicious content that harms your online status. Such strategies defame a brand’s reputation and destroy its customers’ trust.
How to Prevent Online Identity Theft
Register your brand’s trademark
According to US laws, a registered trademark gives you total ownership of your brand. A trademark allows you to sue scammers that use your brand without consent. Check out the USTPO website to search for available trademark options and consult with a trademark attorney for a way forward.
Protect your social media accounts
You should carefully select a trustworthy social media consultant to manage your online community. Be wary of rogue employees who may viciously compromise your accounts. Use a uniform brand name across all your preferred social media platforms.
Businesses should even create and use brand guidelines to keep a consistent online voice. A uniform brand logo has a long-lasting visual impact that cultivates trust in your audience.
You can verify your business accounts on social media to deter scammers from stealing your identity. If a brand uses third-party apps to buy Instagram likes, it should use trusted plugins like Blastup to protect its accounts from dubious schemes. Lastly, avoid online quizzes that prompt you to provide your brand’s personal information.
Use strong passwords and account alerts
Make sure your password is not on the list of the worst passwords on the internet. Passwords should be secure and hard to guess. Ideal passwords are at least nine characters long with letters, symbols, and numbers.
Two-step authentication logins also offer extra protection for your social media accounts. Don’t post answers to your financial security questions on your social media profiles.
Alerts help you to monitor your accounts’ mentions on the web. Platforms like Mention, SocialOomph, and Talkwalker keep you in the loop each time an online community mentions your brand name. Their listening tools send you alerts that allow you to particularly react to suspicious activities from copycat accounts.
Search for fake accounts
Look for scammers that impersonate your brand online and report their fake accounts, particularly if your profiles are not yet verified. Social media platforms and government authorities have safety guidelines you can follow in case of online identity theft.
Respond to any brand infringements from such fake accounts promptly. Luckily, intellectual property laws in countries like Finland, Canada, and the US protect brands from identity theft.
A corporate lawyer can send a cease and desist order to inform these perpetrators of their violations before you use further legal action.
Social media exposes your businesses to a higher risk of online identity theft. Scammers steal identities for various malicious reasons. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your social media accounts such as strong passwords and establishing a robust online presence.