Fake It Till You Make It: Impersonation Attacks Ranging from Funny to Terrifying

People lie. It’s a fact of life. Recently at my 10 year reunion, I overheard people say they worked in everything from medicine to engineering, when I knew that these people worked in a big box retail store occasionally moving shelves and stocking meds. My wife lies to me every time I get excited about watching Star Wars, saying she is excited too and I’m totally not a nerd. Ok, that’s a lie… she tells me what she thinks… 

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While many misportrayals are relatively harmless, some can cause major issues. One man in Alabama dressed up as a delivery driver and went to several local stores, cleaning them out of all of their beer. You read that right. All. The. Beer. As a Southerner, I’m not shocked this happened in the South. The man’s name was released to the public via media outlets and he was apprehended quickly, but still…that’s a lot of beer…

Another person broke into a commercial building by posing as an “Ortho” pest control worker. He was caught by the security guard while holding a laptop and unplugging another. There is no real information on what he was doing and the case is still unsolved. Another more terrifying incident occurred in Florida. A teenager posed as a physician and actually gave people medical advice. He was arrested, but these are just a taste of the ease with which an attacker can gain access to secured facilities or do something they were never intended to do.

The trick to stopping these types of attacks starts with proper training and processes. When there is a concrete procedure in place and support from management, it makes these types of attacks much harder. Ensuring a properly scheduled appointment and verification of ID can stop most corporate attackers. In the case of someone impersonating ”tech support” for  a well known operating system, a healthcare professional, or someone wanting to send you money, the key there is looking at the facts. Contact the state medical board, look up the caller’s department or call a known customer service line for the vendor. Consumers can easily look to the FTC for guidance on these kinds of scams. The best thing to keep you safe is staying informed and if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Be informed, be cautious, and be safe.

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