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Stolen images. Russian bots. Burner accounts. Sometimes it can be difficult to spot fake accounts on social media but thankfully we’re here to help! 
Fake profiles can often spam genuine users and can end up with them falling for scams, sometimes making them part with money. Other fake accounts will “catfish” legitimate platform users which is where they trick them into thinking they are someone else. 
To try and identify these potentially dangerous accounts, we recommend asking yourself this series of “yes or no” questions: 
• Does the account have a profile picture? 
• Is the account older than a few months old? 
• Does the name/username seem legitimate? (eg. @speckyandginge instead of @specky29385629) 
• Does the account have more than just a few followers? 
The more you answer no, the more chance that it could be a false account. 
However, some fake accounts can be very convincing and as our awareness of them increases, so does their sophistication. So, what can you do about those? 
• If there is a profile photo, conduct a reverse image search on Google to see if there are any other accounts linked to this photo. Quite often those running fake accounts steal genuine, pre-existing profile photos from real accounts. 
• You can scroll through and check the engagements the account has made. The less likes, comments and replies they dish out, the less likely they are to be a real account. 
• Another sign may be that they have a high number of followers yet low engagement rates with their posts. 
• You should also be weary that any kind of offer made to you that seems too good to be true, probably is. Perhaps someone is asking you to apply for a job which is just a phishing scam to access your personal details. 
Fake accounts can be hard to spot and will only get harder as those behind them get smarter. You may well end up falling for them at some point but we urge you to stay vigilant, report any suspicious accounts and take extra time to ask yourself those questions delve a bit deeper into the account. If you only do one thing today, please make sure you know who you’re talking to online to keep yourself, your personal details and your money safe. 
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