Have you ever been conned, or almost conned, by a stranger pretending to be a family member or friend? Or perhaps had someone tell you that someone tried to con them pretending to be you? In these times when technology is fierce, with social media platforms offering possibilities to have multiple identities, imposters are a real threat. An imposter is a person who pretends to be someone else. An imposter may pretend to be someone you know; family, a friend, a famous person, or any government institution or trusted company. The scheme Ruth Butera got the shock of her life when she discovered that someone was entertaining people on Tinder, a dating app, using her pictures. “I didn’t even know what Tinder is until one of my friends texted me, making fun about how he had seen my account on the app. I only took it seriously when a couple of other friends told me the same, saying I had nicknamed myself ‘Phiona’. “I panicked for a while wondering where else my pictures were being used. I immediately posted on my social media accounts alerting people that somebody was using my pictures without my consent,” she says. Butera is, however, not the only one who has encountered this. Other people have shared that their social media accounts get hacked and imposters start asking for money from people’s most interacted-with contacts. “Also, impostors ask someone to meet them, and one shows up thinking that it is their friend or family after which they find themselves in human trafficking trades,” someone mentioned on a social media thread. Yves Umuhuza says he was almost the victim of an impostor too. “I have a cousin who stays in Poland and in 2020 I was looking for a university scholarship when I received a message from the person who was pretending to be my cousin, with a number from Poland on WhatsApp. He started talking about how he could get me a school very soon but that I had to pay an application fee of $1000. I believed and nearly did it. “But then my mother felt the need to talk to him first and asked that we video call him. He refused to pick up and was telling incoherent lies as days went by. My mother contacted her brother, the father of my cousin, asking about it and that’s how we knew that I was going to send $1000 to an impostor. I sent him angry texts after which I never heard from him again.” Warning signs It is important to try and notice any weird behaviour from the person who contacts you, in comparison to how the person you know would act in similar situations. In cases that involve money or any valuable asset, an impostor will sound like the matter is urgent and that’s something to think twice about before hitting the send button. Different people suggest that impostors avoid, by all means, establishing any contact that could get them caught, like video calls or calls whatsoever, or they will send or post only one picture everywhere as if it is the only one they ever took. In an article on online scams, the writer says, “If they never post pictures of themselves in social situations or with friends, it could be a sign that they are fake.” Also, the article suggests that imposters tend to create fantastical stories that involve illness, family tragedies, or major accidents that conveniently help to postpone a face-to-face meeting as much as possible. Dealing with an impostor In Scott Matteson’s article “10 tips for dealing with an online impersonator” he says in case one finds out that they have been deceived by an impostor, they should make sure to stay calm, avoid being over-reactive, and immediately cut any contact with the scammer. Also, report the imposter if possible. Send out a warning to your friends and family and, stay alert and mindful of the details you give people.