Threat actors can harm your reputation by using fake social media or email accounts to impersonate you.
Online imitation may be intended to defraud people for money or to influence public opinion or voter behaviour. Fake social media accounts have previously imitated members of parliament, business leaders and senior government officials.
Indications that you are being imitated online may include friends, colleagues or constituents contacting you about messages you did not send or commenting on public postings you did not make.
If you believe you are being imitated online, take action quickly.
Take action to report impersonation
Take the following steps to report the imitation.
Step 1: Notify the social media provider
Report the suspected impersonation to the social media provider. Most providers have mechanisms to report compromised accounts.
- Compromised account: Report a security concern on Facebook
- Impersonation account: How to report a Facebook account or page that's pretending to be me or someone else
- Compromised account: Help with my compromised X/Twitter account
- Impersonation account: Report impersonation accounts
- Compromised account: Hacked Instagram account
- Impersonation account: Impersonation accounts on Instagram
- Compromised account: Fix a hacked YouTube account
- Impersonation account: YouTube impersonation policy
- Compromised account: Reporting a compromised LinkedIn account
- Impersonation account: Reporting fake LinkedIn profiles
Step 2: Report to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security
The Cyber Centre monitors and tracks malicious cyber activity targeting government officials and can provide advice and guidance related to your issue.
Step 3: Report to law enforcement
The Cyber Centre may also advise you to report the suspected compromise to law enforcement and/or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Promote your official accounts
While it is not possible to prevent someone from imitating you online, steps can be taken to reduce confusion in the event impersonation occurs. The best course of action is to ensure your official social media accounts are widely distributed to the public.
The more well-known and active your social media accounts are, the more difficult it is for an actor to create a convincing impersonation.
Ideally, official accounts should be promoted on official correspondence and websites, in email signature blocks, and on physical media like business cards. Where available, use the “account verification” tools offered by various social media providers (tools that officially confirm for users that you are who you say you are). Account verification won’t stop you from being impersonated, but it proves to viewers that your social media profile is legitimate.