It’s no surprise that many people who created online profiles are not who they claim to be. This is found not only in various online dating websites, but also on popular social media sites such as MySpace and Facebook. No one likes to be taken in by these people who are misrepresenting who they are. Sometimes it can be a mere annoyance to encounter these people, but other times it can become a more serious problem. Therefore, it’s crucial to be able to identify fake online profiles so that you don’t fall victim to any unwanted scams.
Be Cautious of Fake Online Profiles
There have people who have been taken for their money by people using fake profiles, others who have suffered heartache and humiliation from falling for someone who wasn’t who they claimed to be. Other times, people have even lost their lives by falling victim to one of these offenders. It pays to use caution when communicating with new people online, for dating purposes, friendship, or other reasons.
Here are some useful tips on how to identify fake online profiles that can help you determine if the person you’re interacting with is really who they say they are.
1) Check Out The Photos
One of the first things that grabs the attention is seeing someone’s photo(s). If the first photo you see happens to be the only photo visible in their profile or on their Facebook page, ask to view others. In the case of a real person, they will most likely be happy to send you another photo. If other photos are available on their profile page, it may be a red flag if they look “model perfect” in every shot, as most people have a few less than perfect photos posted. If things appear too good to be true, that this incredibly good looking person is just so photogenic and has a few well posed photographs, be suspicious.
2) People Posing As Famous People
Another thing to look out for are fake profiles of those who pretend to be celebrities.
For example, let’s use a make believe famous person we’ll call “Jim Famous”. Say this guy is a well known movie actor with a huge fan base. If you happen to find Jim on Facebook, and he only has 20 “friends”, chances are this is not the real Jim!
However, if you found a page where you can “like” the page as opposed to being added as a friend, or if you can be added as a friend and there are approximately 300,000 other “friends”, you probably have the right profile.
Most famous people will have an “official” page or profile, with a link to another website or affiliation. Don’t fall for the scammers, you never can be sure as to why they might want to lure people to them by pretending to be who they are not. With social media attacks being one of the biggest cyber threats last year, it pays to be cautious.
3) Be Cautious Of Low Friend Count
On social media sites, even those who are not celebrities tend to have approximately 100 or more friends. Obviously, if the person just created their profile, they may need some time to reach this number.
If someone you don’t know personally sends you a friend request or otherwise tries to contact you, be cautious. Check to see how many friends they have, and then look even further to see if any of their friends are mutual friends with each other.
Also, when approached online by an unknown stranger, check to see if they have extremely poor grammar or if their messages don’t make much sense. For example, if this person claims to be an English professor and can’t even write/speak the language, be wary, they are probably a fake.
4) Be Cautious Of Someone Who Is Far Too Interesting
When someone’s profile is loaded with talk of achievements or hobbies and interests that seem almost unrealistic, be cautious.
It’s most likely someone who claims to be a model, surgeon, Harvard graduate, and world traveler all in one is stretching the truth or just flat out lying. It may be possible to Google their name or their achievements to see if any information shows up that might validate their claims.
If you cannot find any proof they are who they say they are, for example, if they claim to be the head surgeon at such and such hospital, but you check the hospital website and find no one on staff with that name, you can probably assume you’re dealing with a fake.
5) Look For Ways To Validate That The Profile Is Who They Really Are
Before becoming too friendly with someone online or meeting them in person, take the effort to ask questions they should be able to answer, and to dig a little deeper. With modern technology, a face to face chat is just a click away through Face Time or video chat resources. After a little time has passed, suggest doing this form of communication. If they are truly who they say they are, they will likely not offer any objections. This is also a great way to make sure they are really who they say they are.
How to Identify Fake Online Profiles: Wrap up
Not everyone you encounter online has a fake profile, but it is nice to know how to weed out those who do from the rest of the people you meet. Play it safe and use caution as well as good old fashioned common sense.
To wrap up, here’s how to identify fake online profiles:
- Check Out The Photos
- People Posing As Famous People
- Be Cautious Of Low Friend Count
- Be Cautious Of Someone Who Is Far Too Interesting
- Look For Ways To Validate That The Profile Is Who They Really Are
[Image credit: EnCHiLi, Flickr]