Imposters are a fascinating sub-set of fraudsters. Throughout history, individuals who have committed fraud for a variety of reasons – financial gain, social mobility, and even political or corporate espionage – by pretending to be someone they are not. Some of these people are repeat fraudsters, spending much of their lives assuming other identities and committing great amounts of time to working on complex backstories for their false identities, including disguises, accents, and fake community or cultural ties. In order to commit these fraudulent acts, imposters often make deft use of social networks and engineering, by falsely representing themselves in personal or business relationships and then using one misrepresented connection in order to forge subsequent ones.
In this respect, imposter fraud is often the proximate cause of many other types of fraud, creating the trust and credibility that provides access for the faker to commit his or her offenses. Therefore from an ethical culture perspective imposters are quite interesting to study, in order to ponder their motivations or the heuristics and expectations for honesty and evidence that allow their fraudulent efforts to succeed.