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According to a fairly recent estimate by Facebook, there are around 83 million fake accounts on the social network. Sure, a few of these are duplicate accounts or businesses using personal accounts instead of pages, but that still leaves a huge amount of outright fake accounts. And these accounts are out there trying to weasel in as your friend, probably so they can spam you or perform some elaborate phishing scams down the track. They’re no good and you don’t want to accidentally friend one of them.
Thankfully, like the bulk of spamming and phishing efforts today, they’re mostly still fairly easy to spot. Plus, many of these profiles seem to have a few interesting features in common. From avoiding the the bulk spammer to spotting the cunning impersonator, there are things you can do to stay safe. Here’s what you should know.
Interesting Stats About Fake Facebook Accounts
Recently, Barracuda Networks pieced together some statistics about Fake Facebook profiles, the results of which are quite interesting and might help you to spot a fake profile. Here’s what the average fake profile looks like:
- They have 6 times the average number of friends (726 versus 130)
- Around 60% of fake accounts say they are bisexual, which is more than 10 times the amount of real Facebook accounts that list that information.
- Almost all fake accounts (97%) claim to be female, as opposed to 40 percent of real accounts.
- Fake accounts will often tag photos far more often than real accounts, with an average of 136 tags per four photos on fake accounts compared to one tag per four photos for real Facebook users.
- 43% of fake profiles have never updated their status, compared with 15% of real people.
Check out their full infographic to see some more cool stats about fake accounts.
So, if you get a friend request from a hot, bi girl with tonnes of friends, no status updates and lots of tagged photos, maybe you should entertain the possibility that it’s a fake account. Just maybe.
What About Dedicated Fake Profiles?
Sadly, there are also fake profiles out there which are hand-crafted to deceive a small number of people only. These are trickier to spot, especially as they gain credibility with each person they deceive. There are still a few ways to protect yourself against these fake profiles, so we’ll go through them now.
Protect Yourself From Fake Profiles
It’s possible to block friend requests from people who have no friends of friends in common with you. To lock down your settings, head to your Privacy Settings via the down arrow in the top-right of Facebook and choose “How You Connect”, then choose who can send you friend requests.
If everyone did this, it would serve as a sort of filter against that first deception from a fake profile. Potential friends would have to send you a message and do a far better job of tricking you into believing it was them. However, this can lead you into a false sense of security if the person has already deceived a few of your friends. You still need to be careful!
Try to teach your friends and family to stop blindly accepting friend requests. Millions of people will automatically approve any friend request they get, which opens them and all of their friends up to malicious links and deception.
If you’re not sure if you know someone, send them as message asking them to remind you. If they can’t or won’t respond, then they probably aren’t your friend.
If you think the account is someone impersonating a friend, try contacting that friend through some previously verified method such as an email address or phone number you already have for them. Also talk to mutual friends about whether the account could really be your friend or not, for instance to see if they’ve legitimately changed email addresses.
Here’s some more useful information and tools about fake accounts:
- How can I permanently delete a fake Facebook profile someone else created with my data?
- 5 Pinterest Security Issues You Should Know About
- 7 Fake World Leaders You Should Follow On Twitter
Have you been tricked by a fake Facebook account before?