7 Types of Identity Spoofing — How to Spot and Stop Them

7 Types of Identity Spoofing

Cyberattacks are on the rise, and the threat of stolen personal information and identity theft has never been greater. Businesses and individuals alike must stay vigilant against cybercriminals. One of the most significant threats is identity spoofing.

Identity spoofing involves cybercriminals pretending to be someone else to deceive victims into sharing information. Recognizing the warning signs of spoofing scams is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your customers. Let’s explore how you can spot spoofing attempts before they occur and the tips and tools that can help you prevent them.

What is Spoofing?

Cybercriminals can use various techniques to disguise their own identities and trick their victims. Spoofers often use deepfakes to create realistic but fake videos or audio clips with a synthetic voice that convincingly mimics real people, adding a layer of credibility to their scams. Spoofing is usually combined with phishing, a type of social engineering where criminals attempt to get the victim to disclose personal information, such as the password to their bank account. The primary risks associated with spoofing include unauthorized access to personal and financial data, as well as the spread of malware and ransomware.

Types of Spoofing Attacks and their Warning Signs

Spoofing attacks come in many different forms and exploit various vulnerabilities. Understanding the risks and warning signs of each type can help you prevent these dangerous cyber threats.

Email Spoofing

Email spoofing involves forging the sender’s address to make it appear as if the email is coming from someone you know. Scammers use these fraudulent email attacks to trick recipients into disclosing information or downloading malware by clicking a malicious link in the email message. Risks associated with email spoofing include malware infection, identity theft, compromised business email accounts, and reputation damage.

Fake emails used to be easier to spot because they often contained poor grammar and spelling mistakes. But generative AI tools such as ChatGPT have made it easy for fraudsters to create polished emails that seem authentic, making phishing attacks more dangerous than ever. Pay close attention to suspicious attachments, generic greetings, strange requests and urgency in the message. And always carefully examine the email sender’s address and the link before you click it.

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Website Spoofing

Website spoofing is when attackers create fake websites that look like a legitimate site, tricking users into entering sensitive information. For example, they might create a website that looks almost identical to the victim’s bank’s website to trick them into entering their username and password for that bank. In some cases, fraudsters may even use Domain Name System (DNS) spoofing (also called DNS cache poisoning) to redirect users to the spoofed website.

Always be sure to double check domain names, both before clicking a link and after you’ve landed on the page — remember, if DNS spoofing was used, the link might have been legitimate but traffic is being diverted to a different site. Once on a site, look out for poor design and non-traditional payment options. It’s also important to be cognizant of offers that seem overly generous or too good to be true, which are often a hallmark of spoofed websites.

Caller ID Spoofing

Caller ID spoofing involves using false caller ID information to disguise the caller’s identity. Scammers use this technique to trick recipients into answering calls and providing personal information.

Warning signs include a familiar caller ID name but an unfamiliar number, pre-recorded messages, urgency in the caller’s request and requests for personal information.

GPS Spoofing

GPS spoofing, also called GPS simulation, occurs when attackers manipulate the GPS signals that are transmitted to devices, so that the device miscalculates its current location. This can lead to misdirected shipments, hijackings and piracy.

One warning sign of GPS spoofing is a sudden change in location without explanation. For example, if the navigation app on your mobile device suddenly shifts your current location, or if it shows you are traveling much faster than you are actually going, you could be a victim of GPS spoofing.

IP Spoofing

IP spoofing involves falsifying the source IP address to conceal the attacker’s identity. Risks associated with IP spoofing include stealing information, directing users to fake sites, Wi-Fi hijacking, and password leaks. These attacks can be challenging to trace or detect because they occur at a network level, often leaving no signs of tampering. However, risk signal services such as Jumio’s Geo IP Check are particularly effective at catching IP spoofing.

ARP Spoofing

Address Resolution Protocol spoofing, or ARP spoofing, occurs when attackers manipulate ARP tables to redirect traffic to their devices. Risks associated with ARP spoofing include network damage, loss of connection, and spying. Warning signs include a loss of connection or inability to access the network and slow network connections.

Text Message Spoofing

Text message spoofing involves sending SMS messages with a falsified sender ID to deceive recipients. Risks associated with text message spoofing include malware distribution and compromised security. Warning signs include unsolicited texts, senders with long phone numbers, familiar sender names but unfamiliar numbers, and texts containing links.

How to Detect and Prevent a Spoofing Attack

Now that you understand the common types of spoofing, let’s look at how you can empower yourself and your customers to recognize, respond to and report suspicious activity and spoofing attacks and the proactive measures you can take to protect sensitive data.

Detecting a Spoofing Attack

To recognize a spoofing attack, it’s crucial to be vigilant for signs such as unexpected emails, unfamiliar phone calls or unusual website behavior. Spoofing works best when scammers get people to act quickly. Take your time and pay close attention to email sender addresses, requests for sensitive information, or urgent demands for action. Read through emails or messages and listen to voicemails very carefully. Utilizing spam filters can also help you weed out some of these attacks.

Responding to a Spoofing Attempt

If you suspect a spoofing attempt, do not engage or provide any information. Instead, independently verify the sender’s identity and try to contact the person the email may be impersonating. Promptly report any suspected spoofing incidents to the appropriate organizations to prevent further harm.

Protecting Yourself from Future Attacks

Preventing spoofing attacks requires implementing robust security measures to safeguard devices and sensitive information, both by individuals and businesses.

Individuals can protect their sensitive information, including credit card details and Social Security numbers, as follows:

  • Use a password manager to create and manage strong, unique login credentials for each account.
  • Install reputable antivirus software to detect and mitigate potential threats.
  • Implement dual authentication methods, such as SMS codes or biometric authentication, to add an extra layer of security and integrity to your devices and accounts during digital interactions.
  • Exercise caution when sharing personal information and account numbers online, including on social media.
  • Be wary of unsolicited requests for personal information and only provide sensitive data to trusted sources.
  • Regularly monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity and promptly report any unauthorized access or fraudulent transactions.

Businesses also have an important role to play in safeguarding user accounts from cybercrime. For example, you should enhance access control and email security by integrating protocols like Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) into your email systems.

Most importantly, businesses should verify the true identity of users and authenticate transactions securely using advanced fraud detection technology. By implementing biometric identity verification solutions and risk signals from leading providers such as Jumio, you can effectively detect and prevent spoofing attacks, maximize cybersecurity and preserve your business’s reputation.

To learn more about how Jumio can help you to know and trust your users online, just fill out this form, and we will reach out to start a conversation.


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