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We all remember the phrase that was drilled into our little heads as children: ‘Don’t talk to strangers’, but what about as adults and young adults in today’s online social media playground? 
For example, would you be able to detect a fake Facebook account user if that person struck up a conversation with you? Or would you think you must know this person from a certain point of your life, but your memory fails you? Your very own identity could be at risk if you choose to be polite!. 
 
Facebook has reason to have a smile on its face with the recent publication of its “Enforcement Report”, stating the exposure and rapid elimination of 3.3 billion fake accounts from October 2018 to March 2019! Most fake accounts were flagged automatically using state-of-the-art technology to identify and eliminate them within minutes. Facebook estimates fake accounts make up a jaw dropping 5% of its global users on a monthly basis! So, how easy is it to spot a faker? 
Fake Facebook account users can pose as anything from cute animals that draw you in, to fictitious people and organisations. They do, however, have the same objective of either abducting your money, goods or property. Why would someone send you a friend request who you don’t know?? 
 
There are some basic steps you can take that could help you fathom a faker. 
• Look at the user’s profile picture – have you seen this person somewhere before? Has the person’s face been touched with the youthful hand of Photoshop? You could copy and paste the image into Google and see if you get any results back as to its origin? 
• You could also search the user’s name on Google and see what comes back? 
• You could check out the user’s friends to determine their location? Are they local? Do they have the same friends as you? 
• You could read the user’s profile to determine any hard-to-believe or downright bogus statements! 
 
If in doubt “block” the request! 
Also, for the first-time during Facebook’s short time on the web, the number of deleted posts that were appealed has been reported with the number of reinstations after a scrutinous review. A record high more than 7 million “hate speech” posts were also removed – something to shout from the roof tops! 
 
So, the next time you get a friend request from Tom, Dick or Harry, make that conscious decision as to whether you click “accept”. 
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