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Last Updated on February 9, 2023 by Arif Chowdhury
No one can say they haven’t seen it before. You will often see a Facebook friend request through someone you already know. It is a new social media account, i.e., Facebook or Twitter, with your friend’s photo on it. However, this profile has comparatively fewer friends. Just be aware if you get a request like this on Facebook or other social platforms, it’s a scam.
Thanks to others who saw the unusual activity and reported it quickly, social media authorities took it seriously and removed those fake accounts. However, it is an often recurring situation, and do you know that around 1.1 billion Facebook accounts are fakes? People set up fraudulent social media identities for several reasons.
The causes for this are many. The most evident of all is data theft. They are working on getting your classified data, such as banking credentials, no matter the cost. What was your first pet? Or Your mother’s maiden name? Yes, I know these are common but critical questions and answers. That’s the most popular security question used almost everywhere on the internet.
In some instances, hackers disguise themselves as someone you are familiar with to get personal data from you. For example, let me remember where we first met. Which food do you like most? Even though it looks harmless, you should know that a hacker might put these details together to get your personal information.
You can easily create a profile on most sites, such as social media or forums. Consequently, anybody may establish a false account that impersonates someone else, a corporation, or a product.
So, how do you identify a fake social media account?
Here are simple yet intelligent steps for you:
- Investigate the profile picture.
- Check the username.
- Investigate information from the bio.
- Check timeline posts and activities.
- Check how many followers they have.
- Check what type of content they are posting.
- Finally, investigate how they interact with other accounts.
Okay, so you got the basic idea. However, you need to learn the details, so you should continue reading this guide.
The methods and practical recommendations listed below help you evaluate if a social media profile is legitimate or fraudulent.
Key fact: Verified tick boosts an account’s authenticity.
Fake accounts on social networking sites may cause difficulties, which social networking organizations face daily. That’s why major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide official account verification.
A badge checkmark after the profile name indicates that Facebook authority has validated it as a legitimate account. For example, the image below shows four Donald Trump Twitter accounts that are all remarkably similar.
The actual Donald J Trump account is left with a blue verification tick mark and a white checkmark right after the name. Brands, celebrities, corporations, and public figures pages on Facebook and Instagram have a similar checkmark.
The account holder must apply with further identifying information for the account to be formally validated. They may include an actual mobile number or email address in this information. Facebook authority may also need a government-verified picture id for individual accounts.
Do not be concerned if you suspect a social media account is bogus. We’ll offer hints to help you figure out who they are.
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Step #1: Investigate the profile picture.
The profile image is one of the most obvious signs that you’re dealing with a fraudulent social media profile or spam bot. It is frequently a part of the user’s profile, such as a logo, a brand picture, or a person.
As a result, be cautious if you encounter profile photographs like the ones below:
- When you signed up for an account on Twitter, they showcased your default avatar with an egg. And a shadow on Instagram.
- Celebrity’s picture might represent their professional profile; however, their occupation does not reflect their social account activities.
- The picture contains irrelevant images; you will find many unusual activities on the profile.
Step #2: Check the username.
It’s easy to check the username of a social profile to identify a spam bot or a fraudulent account.
The pictures and names are personal, and people usually want to be identified by a ‘username’ that they enjoy and have earned via several tests. So it’s something they’re open to.
As a result, if you encounter an odd name, for instance, a different spelling or a username consisting of numbers, it’s probably a fake account, mainly because it is usual for a social network to suggest a “name” using digits if a username is already used.
Step #3: Investigate information from the bio.
You may discover lots of personal information here. In the bio, users identify themselves and provide personal details and contact information.
It’s a phony profile or bot if a user’s biography is incomplete or has questionable links that might lead to areas with malware.
Step #4: Check timeline posts and activities.
Another method to tell whether a profile is phony is to look at its material. For example, it might be a bot if those accounts do not have any unique activities; instead, they keep sharing random posts from others on Facebook, for example.
It might also be fake if they don’t have any images on Instagram or the material is questionable.
Step #5: Check how many followers they have.
If you suspect a fake profile, check how many followers it has. It is a crucial factor. It’s obvious; a fake account won’t have thousands of followers.
Investigate the profile. These are fake accounts if they don’t have followers while having strange or unnecessary information or followers/following profiles without profile pictures or unusual names.
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Step #6: Check what content they are posting.
You will find lots of bots automatically sharing and posting political or religious posts. They are often seen in these types of campaigns. They spread virally by promoting specific beliefs via tweets retweeted by other social accounts.
A phony or bot account will likely have a questionable name, no bio, and hundreds of unusual activities that look similar.
Step #7: Investigate how they interact with other accounts.
There is minimal contact with other users with this sort of false profile. However, they’re easy to spot since these are spammers, and their conversations are all the same.
Though there are more minor characteristics, I have shown you some major ones to help you spot fraudulent accounts on social media.
How to find out if anyone used your information and created a fake account?
It is even more dangerous when someone is using your name and picture to theft other people’s data. If you cannot identify it timely, your personal life is in danger.
How will you know if anyone is using your name and picture to create a fake social media account?
Here is how you can do it:
1st Method: Utilize reverse image search.
- Visit Google image.
- Gather the personal images that you shared on social media publicly.
- Search using your images on Google one by one.
- Check whether your images have been used on fake social media accounts.
2nd Method: Investigate social media.
- First, log in to your social media account.
- Type your name in the search box.
- Check the profile picture and cover photo if you suspect an account.
These are basic concepts; let us now dive into the details.
Method 1: Utilize Google to search for your images.
The only way to identify your phony accounts on multiple social media sites, or any other site, is to run a reverse image search on Google.
Step #1: To find this, first, visit Google Images. Here you can search using a picture, not by keyword.
Step #2: When ready to do this, ensure you retain some of the photographs you have placed on your social media platforms.
Step #3: Select those images, run the Google image search one photograph at a time, and see the results displayed.
It will display your original photographs, along with any search results with comparable photos, on your search results page.
Step #4: Search results indicate whether or not an account has been created on Facebook, for example, and if it has, photos will connect to that page with a “https://facebook.com” hyperlink at the beginning.
This strategy effectively discovers the false profiles if they exist now and in the past.
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Step #1: First, log in to your social media account.
Step #2: Then, use search and type your name.
Step #3: You may find several lists of phony accounts added along with your original social media account within the search result.
This option is helpful if someone used your picture on their profile picture and cover photo. However, if hackers don’t use your name and image on their profile and cover photo, you won’t notice.
How do you discover who made a fake Facebook account?
The first phase is finding a fake profile if someone used your name and created a social account to abuse your friends. It is the only option.
Now, how will you know who made this fake Facebook account?
Here is how you should do it:
- First, you have to log out from your Facebook account.
- Report using the Facebook profile reporting option.
- Claim that you do not have a Facebook account.
- Next, identify yourself by submitting a government issues ID, Passport, or driving license.
- Finally, go to the request information to get the imposter’s email, IP, address, and mobile phone number.
And this is how you can do it. If these steps confuse you, why not read for further details?
A confirmed case of a fake Facebook account.
Cyberbullying occurred in a tiny community a few years ago. An anonymous sender allegedly sent the unpleasant victims notes, but they were too terrified to come forward. They were petrified of the bully’s vengeful response.
Though they didn’t give up, the authorities eventually tracked down the criminal. The investigation began with the victims’ phone records as a starting point. Then, they traced the messages to a false account.
The authorities kept digging and eventually located a few people who had received identical messages. They used this group to help uncover a web of imposter profiles, all leading back to one user on social media.
The bully tried to cover their traces, but the authorities tracked them down through their interactions with other accounts. As a result, several bogus profiles were uncovered, and the cyberbully was eventually identified.
How to identify the imposter?
At first, the authority will ask you whether that account belongs to you. It doesn’t matter if you have an account with Facebook when you go to report it. The weird part is you won’t be able to report a phony profile while logging in to your Facebook account, especially if you try to report for somebody else. Since it doesn’t appear to understand that you could have one, but your victim doesn’t.
Step #1: Log out from your Facebook account to make it work.
Step #2: Now claim that you do not have an account with Facebook to report a fake account on behalf of somebody else. It’s a time-consuming procedure, but this is how it works when you report to the Facebook authority.
However, it would only sometimes assist in determining who made the false account. Therefore, it would be pointless to complain about the fake account to authorize and request that it be removed. Consequently, we have to act more professionally instead.
Step #3: To chase further, we have to use the Facebook profile reporting option. You can report false accounts on Facebook (as long as you log out from your account first to report someone else’s profile and claim you don’t have an account).
Step #4: You must establish your identity by submitting copies of government-issued identification such as a valid driver’s license or government-issued valid passport. Facebook typically responds fast because cyberbullying is taken extremely seriously by Facebook.
Once the authority verifies that the information provided is accurate and that the profile is false, its staff will take action to get it deleted.
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Step #5: You still have one more step to go. With your newly acquired knowledge about the ‘impostor account,’ you may go on to request information. For example, the person who made it when he made it and the email he provided. The IP address he used, when he last signed in, and his mobile number.
You may acquire the contact information of the abuser who made the bogus profile; that’s right. We’re sure the cyberbully didn’t expect you could obtain the information through Facebook.
You must go through even more hoops to get this kind of information. Because Facebook demands a “notarized statement” (which confirms your identity) to access it, this is widespread in the United States; however, the United Kingdom doesn’t have it, and we do not know about other countries.
However, getting a statement signed and dated by a solicitor or police officer would be great. You may hire a notary public to perform this task for you. The passport and notarized statement will verify that you are who you said you were. After that, you must send it to Facebook for processing, and a complete document will arrive with further information.
It is estimated that around 1.1 billion fake Facebook accounts exist. Though every month, social media platforms’ authorities remove bogus accounts based on users’ reports, the number remains the same as more bogus accounts continue to come.
You are responsible for shielding yourself and your private data from being hacked by the abuser. Do not accept a friend request from an unknown person. If you received a request even from a known person, the best practice is to call them and make sure that the account belongs to them.
Also, do not share confidential information on social chats or mobile phones. A hacker may track your number or social discussion to steal that information.
Be smart and play smart and be safe.
Further reading on Cliobra: If you want to learn how to build a successful social media marketing campaign, then I suggest you read my guide, “Ultimate Guide: Social Media Marketing Strategy for Small Business” also, I have written another guide, especially for Facebook advance marketing “Facebook Marketing: 7 Advanced Ad Targeting Strategies for Business”