By KEITH COLLINS and SHEERA FRENKEL SEPT. 4, 2018
Facebook, Twitter and Google executives have been invited to testify in Washington on Wednesday about foreign influence campaigns and disinformation online ahead of the midterm elections in November.
The problem has been far reaching. Over the summer, Facebook announced the discovery of hundreds of fake pages and user accounts on its site. Some pages appeared to specifically target Americans with divisive messages, using the same tactics that Russian operatives did to influence voters during the 2016 presidential campaigns.
The latest influence campaigns also imitated posts by legitimate pages and groups on Facebook that advocate political beliefs, making it difficult to tell what was a genuine post and what was not. Let’s compare some to see if you can tell the difference. Spoiler: It isn’t easy.
One of these posts was from a genuine Facebook page that supports feminism, and the other was part of an influence campaign. Can you guess which post is from a fake page?
“Resisters” was a fake account that Facebook removed in July. “Feminist News” is a real Facebook page, as far as we can tell. (We asked Facebook to confirm the examples of real accounts used here are in fact authentic, and were told there was no apparent reason to suspect otherwise.)
The Resisters page existed for more than a year and described itself as “online and offline feminist activism against fascism,” according to Facebook and researchers at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which analyzes disinformation online and works with Facebook.
You may have guessed the post was from a fake page if you looked closely at the language: “Girls make rules and you follow them. If you don’t like it you live. End of the story.”
Broken English is not a sure sign that a post is part of an influence operation. But grammatical errors were a common trait among the Russian ads Facebook disclosed in 2017 — particularly the misuse of “a” and “the,” which don’t exist in the Russian language.
Although Facebook has still not tied this page to Russia, the language used in its posts and several other factors suggest a connection. For one, a Russian account that Facebook removed in 2017 had been set as an administrator of the Resisters page, though “for only seven minutes,” Facebook said. Before being shut down, a Russian account had also shared an event created by the Resisters page with its followers.
And on Twitter, an account with the name “ReSisters” and the handle “@resisteszunion” was identified this year as one created by the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency.
The page’s most notable activity was an effort to organize a counterprotest to a conservative rally. It created an Aug. 10 event titled “No Unite the Right 2 — DC” to protest a planned white supremacist rally in Washington. The page coordinated with administrators of other Facebook pages, and persuaded five of them to share the event with their followers.
Facebook removed the event page before the rally, and informed 3,200 users who either expressed interest in the counterprotest or said they would attend about the suspicious activity behind it.
Which post about Latin American heritage is from a fake page?
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Facebook crossed 2.3 Billion users this year. Last year Facebook estimated that more than 10% of these accounts are fake or duplicate. Facebook is adopting several strategies to point out fake profiles, but it is not enough. It is not just a concern for Facebook, but it is also a concern of real users like me and you. How do we trust a person on Facebook?
I have seen several users complaining that they got duped by some other fake person on Facebook. Usually, the phony profile is created to promote some content, ideas or to fraud other persons. A genuine user will share his daily activity or thoughts on Facebook which could be random as we like different things. However, a fake profile usually shares about one thing that it is meant to promote.
If you look carefully at the profile, you can tell whether the profile is fake or genuine. Below are some points that you can consider to spot a fake Facebook profile.
#1 Check: The Profile Picture
The first thing you see in a profile on Facebook is their profile picture. You can tell if a profile is genuine or fake by looking at it. Below are some concerns that you should check with the profile picture.
Single Profile Picture
An active user on Facebook regularly changes his/her profile picture. If you see only one profile picture and the profile is new or 2-3 years old, it should raise a concern.
Profile Pictures of Celebrities
Its okay if someone is a fan of a celebrity, but he will not put all profile pictures of that celebrity on his Facebook profile.
No Profile Picture
The Facebook name is enough to compel someone to put a picture on the profile. If it is not there, it is alarming enough.
A Perfect Profile Picture
Usually, people click pictures with the phone camera, and these pictures aren’t perfect. If you are seeing a picture of a model with a perfect angle and lighting, then it might be a fake one.
To ensure if a profile picture is genuine you can save it to your computer and then can use Google Image Search to verify. When you upload it to Google Image, it will fetch data if someone else belongs to that image.
To do that Right click on the profile picture and click Save image as and then save it to your computer,
Now open Google Image search and click on the Camera icon
Click on Upload an image and then click on Choose file, select the profile picture and upload it.
May 11, 2018, 8:00 am EST | 3 min read
There are a lot of fake Facebook pages out there. At best, they waste your time and maybe try to sell some ads. At worst, they try to scam money and personal information from you. Here’s how to spot them.
Fake Facebook pages are a big problem. Just this month it turned out that the largest Black Lives Matter Facebook page was actually being run by a white guy in Australia named Ian who buys and sells domain names—and obviously Facebook pages—as a hobby. There are millions more out there doing everything from creating scam competitions to impersonating legitimate media organizations so let’s take a look at some of the ways you can figure out if a page you’re looking at is fake.
Look to See If a Page Is Verified
Facebook pages of public figures, media companies, and brands can get verified, which means Facebook has confirmed that the page is representing who it claims to. Almost every legitimate page takes the time and effort to do it. For example, the real Southwest Airlines Facebook page is verified. You can see that by the blue tick next to the page name.
On the other hand, the fake Southwest pages aren’t verified. They don’t have a blue tick.
Verification isn’t a perfect test, but it’s still a pretty good one. Most major brands and media organizations are verified. The problem is that only big brands and media companies can get verified; smaller brands aren’t eligible. Facebook can also make mistakes if someone submits a request with the right documents (real or fake). They verified How-To Geeek, a trademark infringing knockoff of our site, and we had to file a complaint to get it taken down.
Check the Name Closely
Facebook is pretty quick to whack pages that are violating trademarks. This means that scam Facebook pages need to use a workaround if they want to stay online. This fake Southwest Airlines page is a text book example.
If you look at the name you’ll notice two things:
- It’s spelled “South West” instead of “Southwest.”
- There’s a “.” at the end of Airlines.
These two tricks are incredibly common with Facebook pages that are trying to impersonate legitimate brands. By intentionally and subtly misspelling the name or adding a period at the end, they can avoid Facebook’s filters while fooling random people who don’t look too closely.
It’s the same with the How-To Geeek page. If you didn’t look too closely, you probably wouldn’t have noticed the extra “e” in the name.
Look at the Listing Category for the Page
Another place where fake Facebook pages often show their true colors is in the page category listing. Certain categories require the person setting up the page to supply a lot of real information—like addresses and phone numbers that are easily checked. Fake pages won’t have this information to submit.
The real Southwest Airlines page is listed as a Travel Agent. Something like airline or travel company also would not have been suspicious. The fake pages, however, are both listed as Communities (which seems to be a go-to category for fake Facebook pages).
If the category of a Facebook page doesn’t match up with what you think it should be, then there’s a good chance the page is a fake.
Check What Kind of Content the Page Is Posting
The biggest giveaway that a page is fake isn’t its name or whether or not it’s verified; it’s the kind of content it posts. The real Southwest Airlines page posts feel good news stories about their staff.
The fake one posts about competitions that seem too good to be true. It’s almost certainly a scam designed to harvest your personal data.
Similarly, if a fake Facebook page is impersonating a news organization or political group, they are likely to post videos that too neatly align with a specific viewpoint or run counter to the views the organization normally expresses. It’s easy to create fake news reports that look authentic, and Facebook pages are currently doing it in the run up to a contentious referendum in Ireland.
Be Suspicious If Pages Ask for Donations
A lot of fake Facebook pages also pop up in response to major crises or political events. The fake Black Lives Matter page collected more than $100,000 in donations. That’s a lot of money people thought they were giving to a cause they supported that actually ended up in an Australian bank account.
While there are legitimate Facebook pages out there that solicit donations, you have to be extra careful to verify that they are who they claim to be before donating. If you want to give to a specific organization or cause, you’re much better off doing it through their official website rather than through Facebook. It’s much much easier to fake a Facebook page than a legitimate website.
Facebook has a big fake page problem. It’s much easier for people to create fake pages than it is for Facebook to police them. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what a fake Facebook page looks like.
Last updated on May 29th, 2018 at 05:15 pm
Facebook is one of the most popular social media channels used by billions. There are various business pages on Facebook as it can drive the traffic and increase customers. Some of the best Facebook pages are managed professionally still there are some that seek your personal information or try to sell some ads. The worst pages are that which try to scam money as well as personal information.
The main aim of these fake Facebook pages is to steal information of the users or to get people on a particular website. Further, they can also try to dupe people for money through different lucrative deals. There could be a numerous reasons behind making a fake Facebook page or account. Here, they may try to deceive you for money, information or for other reasons like getting more and more traffic on their shared content.
Spot a Fake Facebook Page with these Hacks
In this blog, we are going to share the tips to spot a fake Facebook Page. Read the whole blog and aware yourself from indulging in any scam.
Check if Page is verified or not
The Facebook pages of the media companies, brands, public figures can get the verification which means that the Facebook has confirmed that the page is legitimate and not fake. All the real Facebook page took time as well as an effort for doing it. For instance, if you see Southwest Airlines page it is verified. The verification of this page is done through a blue tick which is next to the name of the page. Well, there are other fake Southwest Airlines pages too that are not verified.
Further, verification is not a perfect test to know about the Fake page but still it is a great option. Most of the good reputation brands and companies are verified. But the main issue is that the big brand companies get the verification on their Facebook page but the small brands are not eligible for it. In addition to that, Facebook security too can commit the mistake if someone submits an request with his or her original documents.
Look for the page Name closely
The Facebook is much fast to strike the pages which are breaking trademarks. It means that the pages that are a scam are required to use some workaround for staying on Facebook. The main example of it is Fake Southwest airline page. If you spot the name closely you will get to notice:
- First the spelling which is spelled as “South West” rather than Southwest
- Another thing you will see is a “.” at the airline’s end.
Both these tricks with the Fake Facebook pages are incredibly common which are trying to imitate real Facebook business pages. Intentionally misspell the brand’s name or adding a period in end makes them fool random people who do not view the page name properly on Facebook. If you did not look close to the name of the Facebook page you too can become a fool and get duped by them. It is difficult to spot a fake Facebook page but not impossible.
Check category listing done by the page
Another mistake which many fake pages do is that they show their malicious intent in listing page. Here, they do not provide easily verifiable information such as address or phone number etc. As the fake pages do not have any kind of information to share.
If you check the real page of Southwest Airlines, you can see the category listing as Travel Agent. Something such as Airline or travel brand will not be suspicious. The fake Facebook pages will list the categories as communities which clearly tell the account is fake. If the category of the Facebook page does not match up then there are high chances that the page is fake.
Check kind of content Facebook page is posting Randomly
Further, if you find it hard to spot fake Facebook page by its name or listings then try to give attention to content they are posting. Here, you will have a clear idea about their malicious intent through content on their wall. If you find content that doesn’t clearly relate to their business or if you find hard to relate the content with any useful purpose then there are high chances you are on a fake Facebook page.
Be aware if page asks for any donation
This is the another trigger point that should alert you about fake pages on Facebook. If you find page owners are asking you for money in the form of donation or charity etc. then it’s time to stay away from such pages. They may even ask you for some big event in your town and ask you for entrance fees etc. Well, the suggestion here is that, you should be attentive to such pages, unless you are not sure you are on right/official page of the organization.
Well, it’s easier to stop something happening in the first place than to repair the damage after it has happened. Thus, we suggest you to be alert against online scams done through fake Facebook pages by cyber criminals. Here, we have discussed some basic steps how you can spot a fake Facebook page easily. If you want to share your knowledge on this, feel free to comment below.
We are going to share with you the easiest method’s out there to identify the fake Facebook account effortlessly. You must Go through the whole post to know much more about it.
Today we are here with the suggestions for Identify Fake Facebook Account Easily. Today further than billions of characters are utilizing Facebook now, Facebook is one of the consequential networks of the internet and is very much admired worldwide.
Today billions of people using Facebook periodic in their time and numerous user visits each other profile every day. Today preservation of our individual information is additionally required. So in this, we will tell you the method for identifying the fake Facebook account. Just follow the below method to proceed.
Steps to Identify Fake Facebook Account Easily
As there are many users on Facebook who are not practicing it legally as many of them are creating fake profiles for just to make scams with others. Also, sometimes you may indeed receive the request from the people you even don’t know.
There are high chances of fake Facebook account there. Some of the people simply build up a fake account with fake details to simply make scams with other people by sending the request and then chatting with them with a fake identity so you must judge the fake accounts by the tips given below.
Tips to Identify Fake Facebook Account Easily:
1. Profile Picture
The first thing you will notice with any of the suspicious accounts is the profile picture, if you have any doubt about any of the profile pictures just do a reverse search of the image. For this just save the image on your computer then go to image.google.com and click on the camera option(search by image) and then select your image and then google will check for the image on the web and if you find that image at any other sites like 18+ then you will get to know that the account is fake.
The other major thing to notice is the timeline of the suspect. you will notice some common thing in all the fake accounts that are:-
- Mostly the gender will be female, but not all female accounts are fake.
- A profile picture will be limited from 2-3 with only a random celebrity image.
- And if the respective person did not update its status and never any of his/her friend comments on his status then probably the account is fake.
- If the about page of the timeline does not give you the desired info then the account is probably fake.
- They will only update the Spam link on their timeline.
3. Profiles With the Girls Faces
Generally, the fake accounts are created with the profile pictures of cute girls’ faces, which attracts another user to confirm their request and then chat with them. You must beware of such accounts and if you find such then surely backtrace the image with the method given in the first method.
4. Birthday On 1st Jan
Most of the fake accounts that have detected by our team were having birth date 1st Jan which is very common and easy to set for the person creating the fake accounts. So you must beware of such accounts and take proper action if you find such accounts on your friend’s list.
5. Look Up User Activities
Have a look at the suspect activities, if the person is just going to add new friends and had no page liked or any joined group then it must be a fake account. As the user just wants to add as many as friends to just increase its user to promote something later.
6. Contact No. In Girls Profile
Most of the girl’s fake profile will have its contact number in the info section of the profile, but as you know hardly any girl give it’s no. in the public, so the account must be fake.
So above are tips for How to Identify Fake Facebook Account Easily. By these tips and methods, you can efficiently recognize fake accounts in your friend’s list and also at the friend request list. And make sure that you must not be approving the request of any of fake accounts as this might be any scammer that may be targeting you. So be intelligent and share this method with all your loving ones to alert them also.
by Di · Published 03/03/2017 · Updated 22/12/2019
Scams on Facebook pop up fairly frequently, and you’ll often see your friends sharing them! Offering high-value prizes in a Facebook ‘Like & Share’ giveaway is a fast way to gain page likes and comments. But the prizes aren’t genuine, they’re just a method of ‘like-farming’ – gaining thousands of fans to make a page valuable to scammers.
Here’s a short video to explain what like-farming is, and how you can spot a fake page.
What’s in it for the page?
It’s very difficult to encourage people to Like your Facebook page these days (Facebook terms state you’re not allowed to make a Like a requirement of entry for a giveaway!), so a page with lots of fans can be valuable to companies. They can sell the page, or use it to promote their own products or website. They may use it to send out spam advertising, or malware viruses – in the hope that people will click on them and give access to personal details, or sign up to expensive text services! This process is called ‘Like farming’, and an expensive prize is the easiest way to encourage people to like and share pages.
How to spot if a page/promotion is a scam
You may notice one or all of these features:
No information on the About section
If there’s no website listed, it’s a scam. Why encourage people to like your Facebook page if you have nothing to promote or sell?
The linked site isn’t genuine
There may actually be a linked site in the About section – but check it out carefully. Is it live or a holding page? Is it even related to the Facebook page content? In the case of Mama’s Kitchen, their sparse site looks like a shop – but there’s no information about the company apart from photos and a PayPal button at Checkout.
Are the prizes too good to be true?
If there are a huge number of desirable prizes – a hundred iPads, or five cars for example – it’s a scam. Genuine promoters don’t give away valuable prizes like these via like & share timeline promotions – they use a Facebook app or website entry form to capture data from the entrants.
Are there spelling mistakes on the page?
Spelling mistakes or a full stop in the page name or prize description are a clue to the fakes – and notice that iPhone and iPad always have a lower case i and upper case P in the names.
Is it a big brand name?
A blue tick next to a Facebook page name shows it’s an official page (note there is no official Apple page on Facebook and not all big companies have the tick to show they’re verified.) If you’re unsure, find the brand’s website and follow the ‘Facebook’ link from there to find their official page. Also check the URL (web address) of the page – if it’s full of numbers, it’s not genuine. Real pages should have the company name in the web address, eg. www.facebook.com/ThomsonHolidays
The promotion has no terms and conditions
All prize draws and competitions in the UK must have terms & conditions, and these must be easily accessible to all prospective entrants so we can read them before we decide whether to enter! If there’s no T&Cs or closing date, be suspicious.
The page has only been set up recently
Fake and scam pages don’t usually last more than a few months before Facebook takes them down. Scroll back on their timeline to see if there’s any worthwhile content on the page – if it’s 2 months old and all the posts are giveaways, it’s a fake!
What you should do
If you’re not sure a comp is genuine, DON’T enter it. Ask for advice on a comping forum or Facebook group, or check www.hoax-slayer.com to see if the scam appears there. Never give out your bank details, and make sure you have up to date anti-virus software on your computer.
And if your friends insist on entering these promotions despite your warnings, send them a link to this great Hoax-Slayer article ‘No Harm Done?’ Think Again! – 4 Reasons Why Participating In Bogus Facebook Giveaways Is NOT Harmless
You can report a page to Facebook by clicking the More menu (three dots) under the main profile photo, then Find Support or Report page.
In the pop-up choose Scams and Fake Pages and either Fake Page, or Pretending to be another business. If they’re imitating another brand, you can then type in the name of that page. Don’t expect the fake page to disappear straight away – there will need to be a lot of reports for Facebook to take notice!
Only a tiny percentage of online competitions and prize draws are a scam – don’t let them put you off comping! Read my Get Started guide and see my list of competition websites for the UK websites you can trust.
Please also have a read of my posts on how to spot a scam text message and how to spot a scam email.
If you know of any current scam pages, please leave links in the comments – thanks!
There are definately a lot of fake Facebook profiles out there. Numbers released from Facebook themself suggests that 83 million facebook accounts are fake – that’s more than the total number of people living in France and the Netherlands combined! An estimated 5-6% of all Facebook accounts are fake. Fake autogenerated profiles offer the creators of those the possibility of spamming your wall with weird content and also bloat the number of fans for certain pages.
There are some studies of fake Facebook profiles that indicate that fake profiles have a higher average number of friends and most often identify themselves as females. For identifying whether a specific profile is fake these studies however only offer vague clues.
So how to spot a fake Facebook profile?
Looking at a company Facebook page the other day I noticed an unnatural high number of fans for that type of company but strangely very low fan activity on the same Facebook page. Very few likes and no comments made it a bit of a strange case. I did find a few Likes though and decided to have a closer look at those profiles. I came up with the following little trick which also will introduce you to a great and not that well-known feature of Google. Here goes:
1. Locate the Profile image of the Facebook profile you want to check. For this little test let’s use the SPAMfighter Aim logo present on the SPAMfighter Facebook page.
2. Right-click on the image and save it somewhere where you easily can find it again! The Windows desktop would be a great place!
3. Now enter Google Image Search. Google Image Search is a great tool where you can search for images based on other images. I would suggest using Google Chrome or Firefox as Browser here. For some reason it does not seem to work for Internet Explorer 9.
4. Drag the recently saved file from your desktop til the search field. It is a little nifty but you will probably work it out!
5. Now Google Image Search will check where the image is present on Facebook profiles and a lot of other places on the Internet.
If we for a moment return to my original fake profile my search using the above method actually produced a lot of Facebook profiles having the same profile image. See below. My best guess is that most of those Facebook profiles are fake!
Remember to delete any profile images you download from Facebook by the way. Pretty sure Facebook or Facebook users don’t want their profile images laying around on your computer!
Are anyone stealing your Facebook profile image?
A nice little test would of cource be to test whether any fake Facebook profiles use your profile image? Using the test above it is pretty easy to reveal. So locate your own Facebook page, save the profile image you use and do the Google image search. If you notice your profile image present on other profiles I suggest you report it to Facebook using this link.
On the internet, you could be anyone who you want to be. In simpler terms, you don’t need an Identification card (I.D.) if you’re joining social networking websites. Although security checks are still rampant, you could be anyone online. Here in the Philippines, thousands of Facebook pages and profiles are created everyday. The sad part is that most of those profiles are fake. They try to get into people’s messages, they post and sell ads, and they try to scam your money and personal information.
In a previous article we discussed about identifying and reporting fake Facebook profiles. In this article, however, we will be discussing how you can recognize a fake Facebook page.
Wait, why do we need to spot a fake Facebook page in the first place?
Seeing and knowing if a Facebook page is legit is as important as recognizing a fake Facebook profile. Facebook pages are usually companies, businesses, discussion groups, trade channels – they can be anything. The more people in a page, the better. Recognizing a fake Facebook page secures yourself from scammers, spammers, even cyber criminals and hackers. In addition to that, you can save yourself hassle in controlling what you see whenever you’re in your Facebook News Feed.
Fake Facebook pages are the worst. They will try to sell you some ads and clicks, they will try to get personal information from you and use that to their advantage. This is why we all need to be careful when we’re dealing with something we cannot physically see.
So how do you spot a fake Facebook page?
Facebook pages of media companies, known people, public figures, and brands can get verified. What does being verified mean? Well, this means that Facebook itself made the confirmation that the page is truly representing the name it bears. A Facebook profile can also be verified under the same process. Almost every legitimate page takes the time and effort to do it; the reason for that of course is for them to attract more people and for the people to know that they’re legitimate.
For example, Trivago, the well-known travel agency has a Facebook page. If you click on the page, you will see that beside the page name, there is a blue tick or check mark. This is the indication that a certain profile or page is verified.
Alternatively, if you see that the page you’re viewing does not have a tick box, means it hasn’t been verified. Although it does not necessarily mean it’s fake, it’s just that it has less credibility since Facebook itself did not approve it.
Another is through the page reviews
Before buying something, you would first know what it contains, right? Furthermore, you would be interested in learning what other people thought about the product. Same goes with a Facebook page. Fortunately, Facebook allows reviews of pages so people interested in getting services from the page would know what type of service the page has.
Checking the reviews thoroughly would not only allow you to see if something is real or fake; reviews also allow you to have different options if you think the services a certain brand/company is offering is not for you.
Look closely at the name
One thing Facebook did well was by implementing strict rules in terms of duplication and trademark violations. If a certain trademark is already being used, fake Facebook page owners need a workaround to get their page up and running.
In this example, it is obvious that this is not the Trivago that we know. Why? Try googling “Trivago Hotels,” and look what you’ll find. Usually, legitimate brand names come up at the top part of Google Search.
There are some fake pages that add different characters like periods (.) at the end of a certain word; they add or remove a few words if the Facebook page name is modifiable, and so on. They make these efforts so they can pass Facebook’s filters and be safe with their scheme. They find it easy to manipulate people because careless people and those not keen on detail would easily be fooled.
Check the category listings of the Facebook page
In the image, you will see that the legit Trivago has its category under “Hotel.” The one which isn’t so real has it as a “Travel Agent” and the name is Trivago Hotels. Smell something fishy? I know. Another tip is to quickly look at it because most scams and fake Facebook pages will have their listings as “Community.” Do you really think that a brand would categorize their business like that? I think not…
What things do they post?
Now this tip might be a little difficult to notice for some. There are scams that have perfected their art and what they share or post are truly brainwashing. They will ask you to click something or to sign up for something and it will, eventually tell you to log-in using your Facebook credentials; asking you to accept that they’ll be using your information.
Another thing to take note of is that most fake Facebook pages offer a lot of discounts that are hard-to-believe. Would you believe a consistent posting of deals and prices that would be astounding especially for the naive?
How can you help other people avoid these scams?
Honestly speaking, there are a lot of people still fooled by these scams. One thing is that they’re unaware that they exist, another is because they’re not just too careful with what they see and look at online. You can start making them aware by actually sharing this article to them. Another thing is by giving a review of the page you think and know is fake and that might steal information from other people.
Right now, there are hundreds, if not thousands of fake Facebook pages. We don’t know their main reason of doing that but for sure, they’re in to scam people, make money out of them – or worse, squeeze personal information from thousands of different people and use it to their advantage. Whatever the case is, it won’t hurt if you just try to keep safe. I’m not talking about Facebook alone; all social media platforms have fakes. Facebook is just the main platform for Fakes because hell more than a billion people use it.
So be careful and be keen to detail. As much as possible, try staying away from having interactions with the page to avoid being scammed. Facebook has this big problem of eliminating these. However, since there have been countless incidents of scams all over the platform, they’re for sure addressing this and they’re doing what they can to remove it completely.
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If you’ve been using Facebook for years like most people, you’re probably familiar with the insane amount of notifications that can hit you at once. You’ll see things like upcoming birthdays, events from your groups and a plethora of other random activities from people you know.
One kind of notification generates far more excitement than others, though: a friend request. It can absolutely make your day when someone new (or familiar) reaches out to you and tries to connect, but it can also be a sign that your profile isn’t as private as it should be. Tap or click here to see the privacy settings you need to adjust.
And sometimes, that request you get might not even be a real person at all. Data harvesters and cybercriminals sometimes pose as (not so) innocent Facebook accounts so they can scan your profile and share your data. Some even go as far as sweet-talking you into giving up personal information. Here’s how you can spot the phonies.
Fake Facebook friends requests can come for a variety of reasons — some harmless, some malicious. These are some of the types of bad actors you’re likely to encounter in your request notifications:
- Scammers create fake Facebook profiles and send you a friend request to access to your personal data, like contact details, or other personally identifiable information that’s restricted to “friends only”
- This information would be useful in setting you up for a phishing attack
- Malicious link posters
- Some requests come from attackers sharing malicious links that lead to malware or phishing sites. These can end up in your Facebook News Feed after you accept their friend request.
- Catfishers create extremely detailed fake profiles to trick people for romantic or financial gain. They’ll often use photos of beautiful models in an attempt to hook victims. Tap or click here to see the damage a catfisher can do.
- They’ll sometimes spam random friend requests to huge numbers of people before finding a willing victim. If you get a request, keep in mind that you’re probably one out of a thousand “prospects” for these fakers.
- Exes and ex-friends
- If you unfriend someone who you’d like out of your online circle, they can still find their way back to your Facebook account by creating a fake profile. People aren’t always who they say they are, and befriending you using an alias lets them know what you’re up to without you knowing.
- Jealous partners
- Your current significant other could be questioning your devotion and trying to bust you. This sometimes occurs when jealous people want to “prove” your loyalty or test to see what you’d do when confronted by suggestive situations.
- This information could be recorded with the intent of using it against you later. This is textbook abuse, and should not be taken lightly. Tap or click here to find out more about stalkerware, another type of spying tool used by jealous partners.
- Private investigators
- Much like scammers, investigators will sometimes use fake friend requests to learn more about you, as well as see information that you’d normally restrict as “friends only.”
How do you spot a fake friend request?
It might seem tricky to suss out real people from fake ones on Facebook, but there are obvious signs that point to an automated or fraudulent account. Accounts run by real people with fake information are more difficult to spot, but there are still several red flags that usually give the game away.
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