Sponsor Robert Siciliano as he runs the Boston Marathon for Miles for Miracles, Children's Hospital Boston
ROBERT SICILIANO is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds.


Check here if you're human


Seven Social Media Landmines to Watch Out For

Pin It

In the early days of the web, cybersquatting was a concern among corporations who were late to the game in getting their domain names. I had a little battle with LedZeppelin.com that I regret, but that’s another story.

Today that same battle is being played out in social media. Anyone can register any brand or likeness on social media with very little difficulty, and it’s free. Once the scammer owns your name, they can pose as you, blog as you, and comment as you.

The basis of much of this social media identity theft, or “impostering,” revolves around social engineering. When a profile claims to represent a certain person or brand, it is generally taken at face value. Lies propagated from such a credible source are likely to be taken as fact for quite a long time, if not indefinitely.

1. Someone may want to seize your C-level executive’s name on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, posing as that person in order to gather marketing intelligence. Once they are “linked” or “friended,” they have access to that person’s contacts and inner circle.

2. Another tactic is to pose as a family member of an executive, since on Facebook, parents and children are often “friends.” Pretending to be the child of one executive “friending” another in order to gather information is an effective con.

3. Given the opportunity, companies will often take over social networking pages in the name of a rival company. The competition, unable to use the page for their own benefit, loses market share.

4. In other scenarios, the same social networking page or profile can be used to disparage or slander the competing company.

5. Or worse, it could be used to spread falsehoods or create fake contests or scams that inevitably damage the brand.

6. There have been companies and individuals whose names or variations of their names were hijacked in response to a customer service issue gone wrong. The person then uses that platform to slam the company using the company’s own name.

7. Employees who are unhappy with their jobs can use social media to vent their frustration about their boss or company. This can easily result in a public relations nightmare.

The best thing to do is gather every possible brand name and individual name that could be used against you. Even if you never use the site, you own the name. This can be done manually for free or by paying a small fee. I’ve done both. Manually is very time consuming. One site that can help you do it yourself for free or provide full service for a fee is knowem.com.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto, discusses hackers hacking social media on Fox Boston. (Disclosures)

About the Author
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.

Similar Posts

  • 12 Awful Reasons Why Impostors Commit Social Media Identity Theft
    Imagine if someone used your name and image, or the name and logo of a business you own, to create a profile on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking website. Then they start posting blogs and sending out links while pretending to be you. They may contact your acquaintances, colleagues, or clients, or they
  • Social Media Security: Using Facebook to Steal Company Data
    Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert There is a reason why computer users are called “users.” Like crack addicts who are drug users, more is never enough. And when under the influence, people do stupid things. I find myself scanning the Dell catalog like it’s the latest (or any) Victoria Secrets catalog. I’m amazed at how
  • 15 Small-Business Social Network Nightmares
    You may think you’ve guarded your company, but are your social media outlets unprotected? Look at these 15 potential weaknesses in your defense. Can you think of five social network nightmares you hope never happen to your business? How about 10? Well, I can top that, because there are at least 15 social network mishaps that can
  • 10 Types of Criminal Social Media Impersonators
    Social media is the fifth form of mainstream media. At this point, most people know how to use social media, and how to navigate the various websites. But what most users don’t yet realize is how social media can be used against them. Social media identity theft occurs for a number of reasons. 1.    An online impersonator
  • How to prevent social media identity theft
    Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Two words: you can’t. However, there are several things you can and should do in order to manage your social media identity, which may prevent social media identity theft. What exactly is social media identity theft? It’s a form of cybersquatting using social media sites. If you’ve ever attempted to join a social media, more

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Xtreme School

Featured in

Anderson Cooper John Stossel Robert Siciliano Featured in
Browse by Month

Browse by Category