With more than a billion accounts registered on Facebook, some of them are bound to be fakes. They’re made by posers/impersonators trying to fool a potential victim into believing they’re that popular friend of his or that hot persona that he wants to be in a relationship with. Some accounts are also made by scammers attempting to trick people into giving away their money. So, how do you determine if that Facebook friend of yours is fake or someone you actually know in real life?
Is that new Facebook account really created by someone you know?
If out of the blue you receive a Facebook friend request, you can find out if it’s really made by the person that you think you know by asking him about something that only the two of you are aware of or have experienced. For instance, a friend (using his new account) told me that I have a crush on someone, and that particular feeling to that certain someone is a fact I only shared to very few people. Better yet, why not just contact this person using another method of communication to verify his identity? Call him on his phone and ask about the new account, maybe?
It’s understandable for some people to make multiple accounts. They have their reasons: too many friends on their old account, a control freak of a boyfriend/girlfriend who’s in constant vigilance on their old account, and so on.
A fake Facebook account posing as a friend of yours may also participate in suspicious activities. If his profile/wall is riddled with spammy links more than personal status and photos, you’ve got a poser. If the account is old (which you’ve added to your friends list a long time ago) and has only recently spread out annoying links, then it must be hacked. It’s best to inform your friend about it so he can make security precautions in the future (starting with a change of password) and to report it to Facebook.
It’s also easy to identify scammers. When they get in touch with you and ask for money, they usually do it straight to the point, or maybe after only a couple of “how are you” lines or two. Based on my own experience, people who really know me tend to chat a bit more and make themselves reacquainted with you before they pull out to lend-me-money gun.
Other ways to identify a fake Facebook account
When in doubt, do the following to catch an impersonator:
- Check his profile for false information (e.g. listed schools/universities aren’t actually the ones he attended). But remember: some people like to goof around and enter funny stuff, such as being the President of the US as his job/occupation.
- Notice any radical changes in his writing style. For instance, it would be weird for a grammar Nazi friend to reply with so many typo’s, right?
- Observe if he keeps asking for sensitive personal information, especially when such info is something he should already be familiar with.
You can learn more about what Facebook can do for you about impersonation and fake accounts.