You've just received an invitation to connect with someone you know on social media so you click accept. You start to receive strange messages from this person asking you to go to certain websites or provide personal information and realise you have friended a fake account. This article will help you identify fake social media accounts.
Fake accounts sometimes use profile pictures that are of attractive people. For some people getting a friend request from someone attractive is more likely to resulting them accepting the friend request. Sometimes the photo is an actual photo of the person being impersonated as they have stolen the photo from a real user. An account that does not have a photo should be treated with extreme caution.
If you get a friend request from someone you know and it has their photo it does not mean its actually them and it's wise to look a little deeper before accepting the request.
In general, fake accounts have been only recently created which means they will not have the same number of friends as someone who has been active for a longer time. The account may have a few mutual friends as some of your friends may have already fallen for the scam. An account with few friends or connections should be treated suspiciously.
Where possible look at what the account has posted. Generally fake accounts do not have many posts or their posts are links to news or interesting sites. If the account is not sharing information that is based on the identity of the account holder then red flags should be raised.
Its not unusual to receive friend requests on platforms like LinkedIn from people you don't know. However, getting a request from someone on another country and who works in an unrelated industry is an indicator that something may be amiss and further investigation is warranted.
5) Duplicate account
Many of us have received a friend request from someone we know well and automatically click accept just to find that we are now friends with the same person twice. A quick search of their name can often identify duplicate accounts, especially if they have the same profile picture. A quick phone call or text to the friend can clarify if the person is actually switching accounts.
In summary, be cautious when you get friend or connection requests, especially when you don't expect them. Do some digging and research before accepting. Use an alternate means such as a phone call, email or through a mutual connection to verify the request if unsure.