In the previous article of this series, we told you how to find out if a Facebook page was buying LIKES. We also explained how such fake LIKES destroy the credibility of the page.
Security firm Barracuda Networks has explored the menace of fake profiles in a study titled “Facebook: Fake Profiles vs. Real Users.”
What did the study say about fake profiles on Facebook?
The study analyzed a random sampling of 2,884 active Facebook accounts to identify key differences between average real user accounts and fake accounts created by attackers and spammers.
Results of the studies:
- Almost 60 percent of fake accounts claim to be bisexual. That is 10 times more than real users.
- Fake accounts have six times more friends than real users. They may have 726 friends while average real users on Facebook have 130 friends.
- Fake accounts use photo tags over 100 times more than real users, 136 tags per four photos versus one tag per four photos.
- Fake accounts almost always (97 percent) claim to be female, as opposed to 40 percent for real users. This would encourage lonely boys to send them friend requests and enlarge their network of spam receivers.
What do experts say?
Dr. Paul Judge, chief research officer at Barracuda Networks, said in a statement:
“Likes, News Feeds and Apps have helped lead Facebook to its social network dominance and now attackers are harnessing those same features to efficiently scale their efforts. These fake profiles and apps give attackers a long-lived path to continuously present malicious links to innocent users. Also, researchers have shown how friending malicious accounts can lead to account takeover using Facebook’s trusted friend account recovery. We have analyzed thousands of fake accounts to determine features and patterns that distinguish them from real users, and created a feature-based heuristic engine to distinguish real users from fake profiles.”
Can I easily identify fake profiles and ensure my online safety?
Of course, it is easy to catch a fake profile. By staying away from their friendship requests, you need to protect your reputation.
Therefore, if you own a page on Facebook and if you want to maintain its reputation, you must remove the fake profiles who have liked your page. Even if you do not own a page and if you receive friendship requests from unknown people, seeing if they were not fake profiles is the interest of your own online safety.
- Therefore following are some easy tips through which you can find out whether the profile you have come across is real or fake.
- Scan the profile and talk to mutual friends:
Check the content on the Wall of such odd profiles. See whether you have any mutual friends. If you and other profile have any mutual friends whom you personally know, do talk to them and ask them if they have met the owner of that profile face to face.
- Perfect profile picture and information:
Even God is not perfect. Obviously, there is no mortal who is perfect. If you see a profile of a supermodel or some sort picture that has been made beautiful with the use of photoshop or any image-editing software, chances are that you are seeing a fake profile. Usually, such profiles have a sexy profile picture to entice people into adding them.
- Use the search engine to do the background check:
You can use search engines like Google to verify whether the information given on the profile is correct. If a profile claims that the person attended Oxford, currently works as a CEO at an international company or runs marathons, you should be able to find mentions of these achievements on alumni, company or running websites, respectively.
- See the pictures on that profile:
Usually, a real person will often have pictures with friends and family, who will tag and commented on photos. On the other hand, imposters will often use modeling photos featuring only glamorous shots of the individual rather than group photos. Most of the fake profiles photos are open to everyone. The albums in such profiles may contain a lot of pictures but they would not have tags indicating other profiles. They may also contain really tiny photos.
- Beware of multiple accounts:
You should not allow the imposter to trick you if he/she has multiple people who vouch for him/her online. One person can easily make multiple accounts to make it appear as if there is a support network of family and friends.
- Beware of profile that looks like your profile and interacts with your family:
If a profile describes a personality that complements your own or is too good to be true, there is a reason to be suspicious. Often, imposters create interests and activities that mirror your own in order to start a conversation. They also try to interact with your own friends and family members to create a broader sense of familiarity and build up a broader network of trust.
- See when the imposter joined Facebook and how many friends in friends-list:
As mentioned earlier, fake profiles often put sexy profile pictures in order to entice people into adding them. Therefore, you can expect a lot of males in their friend’s list. Probably, you may see 99% or even 100% of males on the list. It could be around 1000s or even more than that. While reviewing profile, see when this profile was created. If it is recent and has a long number of friends, it must be a fake profile. Most of the fake profiles are recently created.
- Tags in cartoons and lots of App requests:
If the profile you are viewing is of an imposter, you may notice that he/she may be tagged in tons of cartoon pictures rather than his/her own picture. If the imposter is in your friend list, you may start receiving a lot of app requests every day. This is a sign. Unfriend that imposter. You will not regret this act.
- Be careful if you receive a friendship request from strangers and fake celebrities:
Usually, girls are very selective about having boys in their friend’s list. They usually add boys known to them, for example, family members or neighbors who are trustworthy friends. Thus, if, by chance, you get a friend request from unknown girls, do not confirm it without verifying the details. If you are not a handsome hot stud and you see a friend request from a hot babe, something is wrong.Some boys usually send friend requests to girls. So girls should verify by confirming with others. If you are not a hot babe and you got a friend request from a handsome looking guy, it is better to triple check!
Sometimes, imposters claiming to be a model or actress or anything like that. Just check if they have professional pictures on their album.
- Is the profile properly made or is it brief?
Usually, people make their profile very detailed, adding different varieties of interests. Fake profile creators will not have time to add a lot of interests in their profiles. Even the number of pages that they LIKE on Facebook would be 20 at most.
- Description and status updates on profile:
Most of the fake profiles have descriptions like “Accept My Farmville Request”, “Add Me In Mafia Wars”, and many more. Normal people describe themselves on their profiles by saying things about their personality or their life. Owners of fake profiles often have many fake profiles. They do not update their status updates. Mostly their status updates do not have any LIKES or comments. Often in their status updates, they share fake websites for the purpose of a Phishing attack.
- Friend Add feeds:
Usually, fake profile‘s Timeline will contain only friend request adds. Imposters just keep on adding people to enlarge their network.
Report the fake profile in case of harm:
If you have been harmed by someone who posted a fake profile, report it to website monitors and authorities. Authorities will be able to identify imposters and close their accounts.
Now with all the tips, we have given you, we hope that you may have a safe online experience of using Facebook. Have you ever seen any fake profiles? Tell us about your experience.
Well, below are other articles on a similar content series called ‘Faking the Fakes’, you might like to read them.