Social media account impersonation

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The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre) Hotline has recently received multiple reports of fake social media or email accounts purporting to represent senior government officials. Indications that you are being imitated online may include friends, colleagues or constituents contacting you about messages or emails they claim to have received from you, but which you did not send, or commenting on public postings which you did not make. Past cases of online imitation have been focussed on trying to defraud people for money, while some cases have also tried to influence public opinion on high-profile issues.

If you believe you are being imitated online, take action quickly. Fake social media accounts have previously imitated Members of Parliament, business leaders, and high-profile public officials. Please take the following steps to report the imitation.

Take action

  1. Report the suspected compromise to the social media provider (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Most providers have mechanisms to report compromised accounts (see below).
  2. Notify the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. We monitor and track malicious cyber activity targeting government officials, and can provide advice and guidance related to your issue.
  3. The Cyber Centre may also advise you to report the suspected compromise to law enforcement and/or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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.

To report a fraudulent Social Media account, contact the Social Media Company

The most popular platforms can be contacted at the following web address:

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