Recently our Intel team received reports of cybercriminals impersonating brands on social media. We will like to highlight two of such cases.
The first is the impersonation of naijauto.com, a quick check reveals their social media handle on Facebook to be @Naijautocom – https://web.facebook.com/Naijautocom
We also see that the page was created on August 1, 2017, and has 111,311 followers.
The fact that it was created in 2017 and has a large number of followers are pointers that this is the real Facebook page for Naijauto. A search for Naijauto.com on Facebook revealed several other impostor accounts.
A visit to one of the impostor pages revealed it was opened on June 2, 2021.
And obviously, the social media handle is @naijauto.ng, a variation of the real account @Naijauto.com
The Modus Operandi of these scammers as revealed by someone who made a report is to make and advertise posts with pictures of cars slightly below the market value. Once a potential victim makes contact, they would claim the car is at a branch office in a faraway state and would need funds to deliver the car, and that full payment would be made upon delivery. Naturally, this sounds reasonable, as soon as the first payment is made, they begin to manufacture more issues to extort money till the victim finally realizes it is a scam.
The second is the impersonation of NPG farms on Instagram. A quick search showed several accounts.
The good thing about this was that the real account, @npgfarmsng had put out several posts warning people about other accounts impersonating them.
From the foregoing, here are simple steps you can take to protect yourself from these kinds of scams.
- Always do a search using the profile or page name of the company on social media. If you see multiple accounts do not proceed till you can determine which if any are genuine. Note that cybercriminals also seek out businesses that do not have a social media presence to impersonate, hence seeing only one account does not mean that it is genuine.
- Rather than trust what you see on social media, use a search engine to determine the website of the company or vendor, then navigate to their social media handles using the links listed on their website.
- Look for historical information related to the account. Twitter lists when the account joined on the accounts profile, use page transparency for Facebook to see when the account was opened, and use name history for Instagram. An account that has been recently opened or has changed its name numerous times is more likely to be a scam.
- Be wary of paying money into personal accounts. Of course not all businesses or vendors will be able to have a company account, but established businesses or vendors should have company accounts. If you find that the business or vendor is big or well established then a request to pay into a personal account is a sign that you might be dealing with scammers.
- Always do a internet search with the business name and phone numbers given with words such as “scam” or “fraud.” Use search engines, search on various social media and forums like nairaland.
- It’s always safer to make a purchase from a business or vendor who you know someone has used and comes highly recommended.
Adhering to all the aforementioned steps should keep you safe from social media impersonators.