Prime Examples of Online Impersonation and How it Affects Brand’s Reputation

How online impersonation affects brand’s reputation?

Online impersonation includes everything from business emails to fake social media accounts. The agenda is almost the same: to earn illegal money or to harass someone for personal satisfaction. The cost of living issues and the COVID-19 pandemic gave a boost to several scams. Recently, in 2021, researchers claimed that many people fall victim to online impersonation. 

People think that only tech-shy and naive users fall victim to impersonation scams. However, this is wrong, as world-famous Facebook and Google have also fallen prey to impersonators. Brand reputation can also suffer if any business becomes a target of impersonators. 

Key Takeaways

  1. What are the different online impersonation types?
  2. Examples of the most famous online impersonation crimes
  3. How to combat online impersonation crimes 

What is an Impersonation Attack?

When a scammer steals someone’s identity and pretends to be that person, this is known as an online impersonation attack. It’s done to distort a brand reputation or gain illegal finances by harassing someone. The culprit can attain their goal by creating a fake social media profile or conducting phishing attacks through email. Impersonators can also become a cause of someone’s death as their harassment is extreme. 

From an individual point of view, online impersonator attacks ask nearby relatives or friends for loans from banks on their behalf. They open a joint account, get a loan from there, and run away. This is how they impersonate. They also become offensive or post embarrassing material about their victims. Scammers create fake websites, make fake applications, or commit CEO fraud that creates massive losses for both the client and businesses. 

Usually, companies and individuals don’t know that their information is being utilized by scammers until financial and reputational harm is completed.  However, firms must acquire cloud-based technologies to manage and monitor websites and applications.

Impersonating online is highly risky for a brand since it can result in serious brand damage and lack of trust very quickly. Here are some prime examples of online impersonation and their impacts: Here are some prime examples of online impersonation and their impacts:

Fake Social Media Profiles:

Genuine accounts may be established by individuals or competitors under the brand’s name and the brand’s logo being used. This kind of phony account is capable of spreading misinformation, dissidence perception, and even criminal activities under their false account; therefore, the brand’s name may struggle to portray the right image and scandalize customers.


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Phishing Scams: 

Cybercriminals can employ phishing emails and websites for this purpose (Of impersonating a brand). These swindlers’ messages imitate authentic business communications, people being deceived into divulging of secret information about their personal accounts, banking details, or sensitive personal information. One can lose confidence in the domains invaded by such scams and their security may be jeopardized.

False Reviews and Ratings: 

Competitors or some disdainful customers may fabricate other than themselves for fake comments or ratings to get a higher rank online. These faux opinions can secretly convince people which can in turn hurt the creditability of the brand resulting in dropped business and negative publicity.

Impersonation on Customer Support Channels: 

The fraudsters may take over the brand’s email accountabilities. Hence, enabling them to evade the brand aimed to protect the consumers. With their scam techniques, the hackers try to make clients believe that they are legitimate agents and probably bluff their clients into revealing private information and making unauthorized transactions, which will result in financial losses and defame the brand’s reputation. 

Major Examples of Online Impersonation Attacks 

Following are major examples of impersonation attacks: 

Website Impersonation 

Website impersonation attacks also referred to as domain spoofing, are carried out through several methods. When scammer creates similar websites with just a minor difference and dodges clients to buy non-existing and counterfeit products to gain their illegal or financial data. It’s damaging to companies as fake websites can reduce their search visibility, impact business names, and worsen relationships with clients.  

The prime means of website impersonation is cybersquatting, in which scammers take over domain names to take advantage of someone else’s brand or trademark. Therefore, domain ownership has to be continuously updated, perhaps on a regular and yearly basis. However, small firms and individuals don’t understand the importance of renewing domain ownership and let it expire for a long tenure. 

Cybersquatters search extensions of a similar domain name and use them to dodge clients even if the domain is updated regularly. Hence, companies always register their brand name and avoid scammers to avoid deceiving someone again. Sometimes, the purpose of selling a domain name to the original owner is to increase fees. By doing so, scammers divert traffic from their source and sell fake products and services. 

Another term that is similar to cybersquatting is typosquatting which depends upon a mistake of a wrongly typed web address. For instance, rather than, individuals type that are similar and can be redirected to a website, providing all beneficial information and details to a fake identity. 

Social Media Impersonation 

Scammers create accounts by deceiving people using a user’s brand image, name, or similar elements. Celebrity deepfake is a rising trend in social media. After seeing all these activities, many platforms, including YouTube and Instagram, have implemented robust systems to report suspected scams and dishonest activities. It’s difficult to find out that someone has been impersonating so firms must use precautionary measures to tackle this situation. 

Mobile Applications 

Scammers are becoming wiser, so they are going to extreme lengths to deceive people by creating fake mobile applications. Fraudsters usually target the fintech industry to impersonate people by using fake apps that work like websites. After installing the apps, the scammers steal sensitive information, divert payments, and execute their illegal activities. 

CEO Fraud 

Executive impersonation and CEO fraud occur when a scammer deceives a firm by creating a deepfake of a higher person, such as the CEO or CFO, to gain confidential and personal information. This is mostly done by creating a fake email address to hack the firm’s systems. 

Final Words 

Scammers are taking advantage of any way possible to acquire illegal funds and fulfill their desires. Online impersonation is one rising trend in the digital world, so firms are implementing AI-powered technologies as a solution. This helps improve overall firm productivity and efficiency and provides authentic results.

Finally, there is this matter of identity theft. This is a big problem where individuals can harm a brand’s reputation and the trust that the clients have in them. To avoid blowback on the brand image, corporates must invest in robust security structures and monitor closely online activities. If such impersonation is identified, take measures to mitigate the damage.