You may wonder, what are fake social media accounts used for?
No one can say they haven’t experienced it. It happens many times that you will see a Facebook friend request come through a person 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 authority takes it seriously and removes those fake accounts. 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. Most evident of all are hackers. 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 about you or the person they’re claiming to be. 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.
Creating a profile on most sites, such as social media, forum is simple. Consequently, anybody may establish a false account that impersonates someone else, a corporation, or a product. The methods and practical recommendations listed below might help you evaluate if a social media profile is legitimate or fraudulent.
Only way to trust is: Verified Account
Fake accounts on social networking sites may cause difficulties, which social networking organizations are aware of. That’s why major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter provide official account verification.
A badge checkmark right after the profile name indicates that it has been validated as a legitimate account by a genuine person. 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 that a social media account is bogus. We’ll offer you some hints to help you figure out who they are.
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 the 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, and you will find lots of unusual activities on the profile.
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. It’s something they’re pretty open too.
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.
3. Investigate information from bio
You may discover lots of personal information from here. In the bio, users identify themselves, 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.
4. Check timeline posts and activities
Another approach to telling whether a profile is phony is to look at the material it contains. It might be a bot if those accounts do not have any unique activities; instead, keep sharing random posts from others on Twitter or Facebook, for example.
It might also be fake if they don’t have any images on Instagram if the material is of questionable quality.
5. Check how many followers they have
If you suspect a profile is fake, look at the number of 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 probably fake accounts if they don’t have any followers while having strange or unnecessary information or followers/following profiles without profile pictures or unusual names.
6. The 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 is likely to have a questionable name, no bio, and hundreds of unusual activities on the same subject.
7. Investigate how they interact with other accounts
There is minimal contact with other users with this sort of false profile. 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 simple to identify whether someone has built a fake social account using your name and picture. It is feasible to track the data of a bogus Facebook account.
Utilize Google to search for your images
The only way to identify all of your phony accounts on multiple social media sites, or any other site, is to run a reverse image search on Google.
To find this, first, visit Google image. Here you can search using a picture, not by keyword.
When you are getting ready to do this, make sure you retain some of the photographs you have placed on your social media platforms.
Select those images and run the Google image search one photograph at a time, and see the results displayed to you.
It will display your original photographs, along with any search results with comparable photos, on your search results page.
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 Facebook.com hyperlink at the beginning.
This strategy effectively discovers the false profiles if they exist now and in the past.
Finally, log in to your Facebook account; from here, you may choose another solution.
Investigate inside from Facebook
First, log in to your Facebook account, then use Facebook search and type your name.
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 find out who made a fake Facebook account?
If someone used your name and created a social account to abuse your friends, the first phase is finding the fake profile. It is the only option.
It happened a few years ago; the victim’s peers claimed they got explicit messages, no one was ready to share the profile link in the issue since they knew that person who was involved and didn’t want to risk incurring the abuser’s wrath.
In any case, this is a dead-end. Also, sometimes the individual being abused didn’t even have a social media account, so they had no ties.
We instead needed to track the friend’s profile. Using Facebook’s search tool, we tracked down a couple of people who got the message. Finding the other two was straightforward once we found several victim accounts to work.
We soon found an extensive network of profiles that all related to one other. While the false social account was intentionally locked from search, we did locate it via the individual account it had interacted with. This way, we found the imposter along with some other fake social accounts as well.
Decide what you are going to do?
We had to choose this point. We know it is safe and simple to report the false social account to Facebook authority, and they would delete it at this point. Yep, it is easy as it seems; however, Facebook doesn’t make it simple to report an account that isn’t yours, even if you have an original account with good standing.
At first, the authority will ask you whether that account belongs to you or not. 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 on behalf of somebody else. Since it doesn’t appear to understand that you could have one, but your victim doesn’t.
To make it work, you have to log out and 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 it seems like this is how it works if you want to report to the Facebook authority.
However, it would not necessarily assist in determining who made the false account. It would be pointless to complain about the fake account to authorize and request that it be removed. We have to act more professionally instead.
Method of hunting down the thief
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 to claim you don’t have an account).
You must, however, 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 quickly, generally within a few days, 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.
You’ve still got one more step to go, though. 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, the email address he provided. The IP address he used, at which time he last signed in, and even 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.
To get this kind of information, you have to go through even more hoops. Because Facebook demands a “notarized statement” (which confirms your identity) to access it, this is widespread in the United States; however, we don’t have this in the United Kingdom.
However, it should be sufficient to get a statement signed and dated by a solicitor or policeman. We hired a notary public to perform this task for us. Our passport and notarized statement verified that we were who we said we were. After that, we sent it off to Facebook for processing, and a complete document arrived with further information.
Do you still wonder, what are fake social media accounts used for? I don’t think so.
It is estimated that around 1.1 billion fake Facebook accounts exist. Though every month social media platforms authority remove bogus accounts based on users’ reports, the number remains the same as more bogus accounts continue to come.
It is your responsibility to shield 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, call them and make sure that the account belongs to them. Also, do not share confidential information on social chats or even on 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 Plan 101 (Complete Edition Vol.1)” also I have written another guide especially for Facebook advance marketing “Facebook Marketing: 7 Advanced Ad Targeting Strategies for 2021”