A new report has found that fraudulent social media profiles for brands has increased by 150% over the last year.
Proofpoint has just released its inaugural Social Media Brand Fraud report which investigates the current state of social media brand fraud to understand bad actors’ methods and how this business risk is evolving.
From April through June 2016, Proofpoint researched the prevalence and different types of fraudulent social media accounts associated with 10 top global brands (including BMW, Amazon, Chanel, Capital One, Shell, Sony, Star Bucks).
The selected brands are leaders in their field and have an active social presence with an average of 33.7 million followers across major social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
The report highlights that consumers should be careful who they follow on social media sites, because many global companies have a number of fraudulent accounts associated with their brand. Key findings include:
- Of the 4,840 social media accounts associated with 10 top brand names, 19% were fraudulent.
- Of the 902 fraudulent accounts associated with 10 top brands, nearly 30% were scams or offers for counterfeit products and services.
- 4% of 10 top brand fraud accounts exist for one or more of the following: phishing for personally identifiable information (PII), malware, protest, and satire. While 4% may seem a small percentage, these accounts can be dangerous to your customers and brand reputation.
- Counterfeit and knockoff product offerings represent 11% of 10 top brand fraud accounts.
- Social media phishing is the fastest growing social media threat: we have already seen a 150% increase this year vs. the same period in 2015
- Proofpoint detected nearly 600 new fraudulent accounts each month in Q2 2016.
Ray Kruck, vice president of business development at Proofpoint said “Malware definitely poses a big threat to followers. Hackers using malware can access sensitive data stored on personal devices. However, phishing also poses an immediate risk and is the fastest growing social media threat. We have already seen a 150% increase this year vs. the same period in 2015, including campaigns that target major retail bank and online payment service customers.
“Social media brand fraud attempts increased 20% in Q2 2016 vs. Q1 2016 across all Proofpoint customers. These scams are already finding success, so they don’t need to evolve or change to defraud customers. Instead, they simply need to proliferate.”
The full report can be found here.