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Fake Profiles on Social Media

How do you analyze, detect, and handle fake profiles on social media?

Do you use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter? If yes, have you ever noticed multiple profiles for the same person? It is a reality that there are numerous fake profiles on social media, specifically for popular people, such as a celebrity. As social media websites have enormous data about millions of individuals, these websites may be used as a platform by hackers with malicious intent to target individuals. While some of the fake profiles are created by fans and followers and may not pose security risks, there are other profiles created with malicious intent.

Fake Profiles in Social Media

Let us look at a scenario about the possible impact of fake profiles on social media. 

In LinkedIn, you may have sometimes received requests to connect from strangers. How do you ensure the authenticity of the requestor? The stranger may never exist and it could be a fake profile. If you accept the request, the owner of the fake profile will have access to your professional information in the page; thereby making you vulnerable to possible security threats.

These people with malicious intent may get in touch with you and use techniques such as social engineering to collect sensitive and critical information primarily for financial gains. When you become a victim, you may end up with losses, such as monetary, reputation, or job. The hackers stealing information may be your business competitors as well. So, how do you stay protected from these risks and challenges? Let us discuss.

Why does someone create fake profiles on social media?

  • Spreading fake news
  • Supporting a negative cause, such as victimization
  • Criticizing others without revealing identity
  • Conducting marketing activities, such as brand promotion

How to protect?

With these types of security threats, how do you protect yourself from being a victim of attackers or being misused by people with fake profiles on social media? Let us check out.

Verify the profile: Genuine profiles are the verified ones and usually have a blue tick mark against it.

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Verify the photo: Check the photo of the person. If the photo does not appear genuine or if they have not used their actual photo but that of a celebrity or other images, it may be a fake profile.

Ignore people with suspicious profiles: Verify the friends or connections list of the requester and if there are only few contacts, no mutual contacts, or works in an unheard company, do not befriend or connect. Additionally, verify if there are inconsistencies in the profile. If yes, do not accept the request. Ensure that you only accept friends or connection requests from a familiar person.

Tip: If the requestor is unknown, verify whether the requester profile contains errors, such as typos or no photos. If yes, do not accept the friend or connection request. Additionally, ensure to investigate further even though the requester has a familiar name or is working in your company before befriending or connecting with the request. For example, check the company directory.

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Ensure your privacy: Ensure you hide your profile from public view so that only your friends and connections are able to view and access your personal or professional profile.

Block and report: After your review and analysis, if you are convinced that the profile is fake, never accept the friend or connection request. Additionally, report the fake profile using the Report options in the social media website.  If you had already befriended or connected with a person and later realize that it is a fake person or a person with malicious intent, immediately block the person and use the Report option in the account. Additionally, if the person is already causing harm to you, report it to the Police.

Remember: It is always better to be safe than sorry!

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