Today’s topic is geared towards helping you add REAL FRIENDS to your personal profile who, over time, may convert into clients. So let’s be sure you are collecting REAL friends and not fake ones.
So who are these Fake Profiles and why would they send you a Fake Friend Request? Lots of reasons and none of them are good so Please beware… Here I’ve listed some of the various types of Fake Friend Requestors here and if you want the full story you can visit my blog. Learn some ways to spot them and protect yourself from a range of mild nuisances and headache to a full blown identity theft nightmare…and even creepy more things our children’s world.
Scammers may create fake Facebook profiles and request to be your friend in order to gain more access to personal information that you restrict to "friends only". This information may include your contact information (for spamming), or other personal information that might be useful in setting you up for a phishing attack.
You may also get requests from attackers that post malicious links to malware or phishing sites which may end up in your Facebook newsfeed after you accept their friend request.
As the MTV television show "Catfished" has shown time and time again, the person behind that sexy profile pic may be nothing close to what they advertised. Catfishers may create elaborate online profiles using pictures of models, in an attempt to hook victims looking for love online. They may send out random friend requests to huge numbers of people before they find a willing victim.
Ex-wife / Husband / Girlfriend / Boyfriend
If a relationship ends badly, you may end up unfriending that person. You may think that they are gone and out of your circle of Facebook friends, but they may try to find their way back in by creating a false profile and befriending you using their new alias. This allows them to keep up with what you are up to without you knowing that it's them on the other side of the screen.
Current Wife / Husband / Girlfriend / Boyfriend
If your spouse or significant other is trying to test your fidelity in an unscrupulous manner, they may resort to creating a false profile using an attractive profile picture to entice you into becoming their friend so that they can further test you by trying to get you to respond to their suggestive posts or chats. They could record this information with the intent of using it against you later.
Private investigators could also use false profile friend requests to help them learn more information about you. The kind of information that you normally would restrict from public view and reserve for friends only.
How Can You Spot a Fake Friend Request?
There are several clues that the friend request you received might not be genuine. Here are five questions you should ask yourself to help determine if the friend request might be from a fake profile:
1. Do You Know the Requester or Have Any Friends in Common With Them?
Although obvious, this is the first clue. If you can't recall ever meeting this person in real life or meeting through any mutual friends, then it is likely a friend request sent to you under false pretenses. Check their friends list (if it's viewable) and click the "mutual" list to see whom you both know. Check with your mutual friends to see if they know them.
2. Is the Friend Request From an Attractive Person of the Opposite Sex?
If you're a guy and you get a random friend request from a beautiful woman, then this is your first tip-off that it might be a ruse. Same holds true for the ladies. A friend request with a picture of an attractive person posing in a provocative way is often the bait used by those creating fake friend requests.
3. Does the Request Come From a Person With a Very Limited Facebook History?
If, according to their Facebook timeline, the person just joined Facebook an extremely short time ago, then this is a huge clue that the friend request is bogus. Most legitimate Facebook users will have a long history on their timeline dating back several years.
Fake profiles are often created hastily and most profiles will indicate when the person joined Facebook. If their Facebook timeline says they joined Facebook 12 days ago then the person is most likely trying to scam you, unless it's your grandmother, who is very late to the Facebook party and has a legitimate reason for having a limited history.
4. Does the Person Have a Unusually Small or Large Number of Friends, and Are They All the Same Sex?
Fictitious profiles may have an extremely small, or possibly a large number of friends on their friends list. The reason? They have likely spent very little effort on setting up the fake profile, or they have 'shotgunned' a ton of friend requests out and received a ton of responses.
Another clue is the sex of those on their friends list. Depending on who the person behind the fake profile is targeting, you will likely see friends that are predominantly of the opposite sex of the requester since that is likely who they are targeting when they send out their fake friend requests. If the request is from a lady targeting men, expect almost all men in the friends list, instead of a mix of men and women like you would expect from a real person.
5. Is There Very Little Personal Content on Their Timeline?
You likely won't see a lot of day-to-day activity on a fake profile because of the effort required to generate 'real' content. You may see some pictures, perhaps some links, but you probably won't see a lot of location check-ins or status updates. This may or may not be true for scammers of the Catfishing-type, as they may spend a lot of time and effort making their online persona seem as real as possible.
Next time you receive a random friend request, ask yourself the questions above. If the answer is yes to more than one or two of them, then you may have just spotted yourself a fake friend.
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