Impersonation Crime: Meaning, Types and Way To Counter

Did you know identity theft or impersonation crime affects millions worldwide yearly? 

In today’s fast-paced marketplace, appearances can often deceive. It wouldn’t be hard to find people masquerading as customers and trying to manipulate others to get sensitive information from them. Such acts of impersonation can destroy the trust between people working in the marketplace. 

If people are unable to tell who’s real and who’s fake online, it creates a trust deficit. It’s similar to a situation where you are in a marketplace and you are not certain if the people you’re doing business with are either genuine or just pretending. This eventually leads to an ineffective business community that can hurt the economy. 

In this article, we will try to understand the definition of impersonation, different types of impersonation, and some guidelines to guard against impersonators

What Is Impersonation?

Imagine if someone is pretending to be you online. They might alter their appearance, and voice or even steal your entire identity. This is called impersonation.

Online Impersonation can make it very difficult for business people to trust who they are dealing with. For instance, duplicate accounts can lead you to believe that you are dealing with multiple users, but in actuality, those accounts belong to one controller or impersonator in this case. 

Now that we have a basic understanding of what impersonation is, let’s review the different types of impersonation;

Types of Impersonation

Although impersonation comes in different forms, they have the same goal, i.e. to deceive someone by pretending to be someone you are not. 

  1. Phishing

Phishing is a type of cyber attack where a person tries to trick you into giving them your personal information. This could include; a password, credit card number, or any login details. 

For example; You receive an email from your Bank with a link to update your account. If you click the link it may take you to a fake website that looks real but that is where the impersonator steals your login information

2. Identity Theft

Identity theft usually occurs when a person uses pieces of another person’s identifying information, by stealing it, to impersonate that individual. And once he gets hold of that data, it could be used to steal the victim’s money or make purchases. Moreover, identity theft can be utilized to hide true identity while violating the rules of the marketplace. 

3. Account Takeover

An impersonator might gain unauthorized access to a person’s online account and then use it as if they were the actual owner. It could be because he might want to steal money or any information that could be used to conceal his true identity while committing crimes or violating the marketplace rules. 

4. In-person Impersonation

Impersonation does not always have to be online. Some individuals alter their appearance, clothing, speech, or behavior to mimic someone else. Moreover, they might fabricate a fake identity to pose as being trustworthy. 

Now that we have discussed the different types of online impersonation attacks, let’s discuss how to counter them;

Ways To Counter Impersonation

To prevent impersonation, two key processes need to be considered. First is to verify the identity of all the parties that are involved and second is to educate all parties on how to tell if they are being scammed. 

Here are some general ways to stop impersonators; 

  1. Implementing KYC 

One of the most effective ways to prevent impersonation attacks is to take preemptive measures. The impersonators must be stopped before they even sign up. If identity verification methods are used such as ID Documents or biometrics, one can confirm the identity of the users. Any inconsistency must be investigated and people who are unable to prove their identity should be prevented from getting access.

  1. Protecting Marketplace’s Identity

Protecting the marketplace’s identity by following these steps;

  • Use domain management tools 
  • Create a marketplace-specific email domain
  • Include links to the marketplace’s official website
  • Create strong passwords or change them periodically. 
  1. Educate and Create awareness

It is imperative to teach customers how to identify and deal with impersonators. Here are some ways that can assist you in identifying an impersonator:

  • He will arrive at an unusual time of the day
  • He will use a strange location
  • Ask you to share financial information
  • Will ask for information on an urgent basis.
  • Will have a strange request.

These steps should be taught to individuals who are working in the marketplaces. This would enable them to create a protection layer against any fraudulent activities that are taking place in the digital realm. 


A marketplace needs people who can be trusted. To create an environment that protects people it is imperative to keep their sensitive information safe. Taking measures that prevent impersonation crimes along with certain drawdown strategies can surely benefit the marketplace and businessmen in the long run. 

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