Many of you may be aware by now that there are numerous amounts of ‘spearfishing’ villains out there, and that these days you have to be extra careful when using sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.  But did you know that these online crooks are now taking things a step further and actually spending the time to create fake profiles, which are then used for collecting other users’ data and information?

Generally these fraudsters will be looking for personal details that can be applied to things like password resets, for example names of pets and mothers maiden names. There are, however, a growing number of hackers that are targeting companies HR departments, as they have access to immense data records in their employee databases.  National Insurance numbers, home addresses, medical details and dates of birth are just some of the vast amount of details stored in these valuable archives, making HR people a juicy target of choice.

With all of these potential threats lurking around social networking sites, the value of data is now at an all time high.  Cyber culprits are learning to become more creative with the different types of data that they can capitalize on.  There are, of course, ways in which you can spot such deceptive activity, and here are our top two fakers.

The Doppleganger…

First of all, if you think a profile seems suspicious then check to see if there are replicas being used.  False profiles are more likely to achieve connections if there are several of them out there.  The way to check this is to perform a Google search on the image used in the profile picture, and see if it crops up with any other profiles attached to it.

The Lonely Profile…

Other things to look for are people with very few connections, very few friends and so on, as well as limited information about themselves. Many of these phonies also have their first and last names written in lowercase letters, and often there are periods placed directly before the last names.

Unfortunately there is nothing much that can be done to stop this online infringement, but having read this post, you are in a better place to help protect yourself or your company from any wrongful acts of conduct. Remember, always check profiles before accepting them and you will be off to a good start.  If you want to be even stricter, then only accept requests from people you know, or have met prior to the invitation being sent.  And finally, if you do suspect someone of being a cyber criminal, then please make sure you block or report this person to the site administration team!