Report Warns of Rise in ‘Selfie Spoofing Scams’

rise selfie spoofing scams

There has been a rise in “selfie spoofing scams” in which a fraud actor steals a person’s selfie to carry out identity fraud, according to a new study.

According to a report by Socure earlier this month, selfie spoofing scams have grown in popularity over the last year as a way for criminals to steal people’s identities and fraudulently open accounts in their name.

Selfie spoofing entails taking a photograph of a person’s selfie — whether on a computer screen, printed on a piece of paper, or even an actual headshot on a different document.

These scams are often carried out to authenticate a stolen identity and open fraudulent accounts.

Selfie Theft in the Social Media Era

Socure’s report found that selfie spoofing scams are becoming more popular due to how easy it is to access a person’s photographs on public social media profiles, making it a simple path for fraudsters to carry out identity theft.

In the era of social media, fraudsters can steal almost anyone’s picture and use it to fool face verification. Therefore, if facial biometric technology does not analyze certain characteristics of an image, fraudsters can simply use social media images to hack devices and accounts.

According to the report by digital identity verification and trust platform Socure, senior citizens (aged 50 years and above) are the most common target of selfie spoofing scams.

Security Magazine reports that around 49% of selfie spoofing scams target senior citizens, making this demographic four times as likely to experience a selfie spoofing incident. This is partly because senior citizens are often not as technologically proficient as younger demographics.

Socure’s report found that selfie spoofing scams accounted for 20% of identification document fraud in 2023.

However, the most prevalent identity document fraud technique last year involved “document image-of-image.” Document image-of-image occurs when the user takes a photograph or uses a screenshot image of a victim’s ID.

Last year, a terrifying ad campaign featuring a deepfaked girl warned parents against sharing photos and videos of their kids on social media. The viral campaign revealed just how easily a child’s image can be stolen and manipulated by AI.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.