How to Spot a Fake Social Media Account


Chidinma got a Friend request on Facebook posing to be a sponsor she had be following up on. She doesn't get too excited but pauses to review the profile of the sponsor before accepting.Turns out to be Fake.

More and more people, regardless of age and gender, are signing up for profiles on online social networks. Some have hundreds or thousands of followers spread across multiple profiles. But pollution of social media networks through creation of fake profiles is becoming increasingly common. Fake profiles often spam legitimate users, posting inappropriate or illegal content. Several signs can help you spot a social media fake who might be trying to scam you.

Step 1

Read through the updates posted on the profile of the suspected faker. Accounts that only broadcast or push out updates and content instead of having conversations and engaging with other community members are often fake. If users do engage with you, be wary of requests to wire money or reveal sensitive information — a tactic often used by scammers. Such requests might come from users posing as a friend or family member. For example, if a friend contacts you via a social network asking for money, call him to confirm that the request came from him.

Step 2

Keep an eye out for accounts that repeatedly push out spam. Signs include sharing the same link repeatedly in a short period of time and providing misleading information about the destination of a link.

Step 3

Look for a verification indicator on the social media accounts of high-profile users. Accounts without verification might belong to an imposter. Consult the social media network’s FAQs or user guidelines to familiarize yourself with the look and location of a legitimate verification indicator. For example, Twitter displays a light blue verification badge (check-mark icon) at the top left corner of a verified account, above the profile name, Twitter handle and bio. Badges that appear on a different part of the profile, such as a user’s avatar, are not legitimate.

Step 4

Watch for profiles created to provide phony reviews on social ratings and reviews sites. Fake reviews often do not comment on the specifics of a company’s product or service. Instead, they tend to give overwhelmingly positive or negative feedback about only the brand.

Continue the conversation.

Visit to post comments and get advice from a community of security experts

Summary steps

  • If you are suspecting an account on social media is fake, simply go through their timeline and analyze their posts. The probability that they are fake would be higher if they only do broadcasted messages as opposed to having actual conversations.