How To Spot a Fake Facebook Account & Stay Safe [Weekly Facebook Tips]

Angela Randall 06-11-2012

fake facebook accountAccording 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.

fake facebook account

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.

fake facebook

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.

fake facebook account

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.


More Reading

Here’s some more useful information and tools about fake accounts:

Have you been tricked by a fake Facebook account before?

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  1. Daniel
    April 21, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    There is always FB Checker. It might not be 100% accurate, but at least it's a good start. It will check all photos that you select plus some additional info. Works similar to Google Images but it's a lot easier and faster. You can get it from

  2. Austen Gause
    December 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm


  3. Roehl Curioso
    November 13, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Thanks for the tips!! Good one!!

  4. Terafall
    November 10, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Let's hunt them all

  5. Fabrice Soopramanien
    November 10, 2012 at 3:47 am

    TY for this article !! :P !!

  6. Chaos Emperor
    November 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    GUYS!!!If i happen to have friend with certain someone in fb and look at his email
    it is *******
    i searching the internet for it and see it was a fake mail and is a fake mail dont go friend with anyone that use them
    here it is

  7. Douglas Mutay
    November 9, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Good tips! Thanks!

  8. Yudono Ra
    November 9, 2012 at 2:50 am

    i always like to use report to facebook, whenever i found some questionable fb profile
    (usually.. the typical sexy/beautifull girl profpic, with spammy status upadates that link to some websites)

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 9, 2012 at 10:07 am

      You're doing the good work, cleaning up the spam profiles. :)

  9. David Rachlin
    November 8, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    I wonder just how many fake profiles were created by the major political campaigns this year. We know Mitt Romney had thousands of phony twitter followers... maybe he's got a whole truckload of fake facebook friends too.

  10. Shmuel Mendelsohn
    November 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    The bottom line is that if you spend any significant amount of time online you will be hacked, and if you don't you will lose out!

  11. Souvik Chandra
    November 7, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks for the statistics.... :)

  12. DARRYL
    November 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Lately, have been receiving e-mails that look like they are from friends, but the return address is suspect and I know my friends are not sending these messages. How can we prevent them from being received? Every time I get one, I relegate it to my Spamfighter folder, but they keep coming. Please advise. Thank you.

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 9, 2012 at 10:07 am

      If they're addresses from Facebook you can report the profile. If not, just keep marking them as spam, I guess.

  13. Nikhil Chandak
    November 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    thanks for the great tips
    very useful to protect ourselves for the fake accounts ...

  14. Anthony Monori
    November 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Some great tips!

  15. Scott
    November 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I have another tip to spot a fake FB profile. If you use Chrome, download the "Search by Image" extension. When you find a profile for someone you don't recognise or seems a bit strange, you can right click on their profile picture and then click "Search Google with this image".

    You'll probably find that Google finds the same image on hundreds of different websites, quite often pornographic or dating websites, seeing as the people making fake profiles often just search Google for "hot girls" or something along as those lines.

    • Tabitha Ashburn
      November 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      Very helpful tip Scott. Thanks.

    • Alexander Fuchs
      November 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      Good tip. thanks

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 9, 2012 at 10:06 am

      Nice tip. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Chaos Emperor
    November 7, 2012 at 8:01 am

    thanks for the tips
    but what if someone that didnt tag anyone at all at his/her picture?

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 9, 2012 at 10:05 am

      You'd probably spot them by one of the other methods. It's not guaranteed that the spam profile will tag heaps of people, just more likely.

      • Chaos Emperor
        November 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm

        thanks for replying :)