Identifying Fake Facebook Profiles
The latest wave of fake user accounts on Facebook are more difficult to identify just through the friend request itself. The fake users are conducting social engineering campaigns by creating profiles in a certain city, and then trying to friend people in that city. They may also put other information in their About page that makes it more likely for people to trust them, such as having attended a local school or recently visited a local coffee shop. Here are signs of a fake profile:
- Their profile has only a few posts on the timeline.
- There are spammy advertising-like posts on their timeline.
- Their About page has very little information.
- They claim to work for Facebook on their About page.
- Although you supposedly have friends in common, you’ve never heard of the person.
- The person has only a few profile pics.
- The profile pics are suggestive.
- The person has multiple profile pics, but of different people.
- Their Facebook friends have unusual or seemingly fake names.
- And #10, the most common: You’re a middle-aged man and the person you’ve never met who wants to friend you is an attractive girl in her 20s or 30s… and, the friends you have in common are all of your other middle-aged male friends, but no women (since they knew it was a scam and didn’t accept the Friend request in the first place).
What You Can Do
Fake users may ask to be friends with you on Facebook. Even if you have friends in common, be careful not to friend anyone until you’ve spent at least a few minutes checking their profile. You may want to send the person a message and ask them why they were wanting to connect. If you identify a fake account, click the three dots menu icon and select Report to report the user account as shown below. By spending a few minutes, you can protect hundreds of social media friends and contacts.
Why People Create Fake Facebook Accounts
- To build fake personas on Facebook which can be sold on the black market for big money.
- To buy or use fake personas on Facebook to sell or promote things.
- Once trust or acceptance is garnered, they use the profiles to post links to malicious websites that will infect people’s computers and/or steal passwords.
- To launch social engineering campaigns via Facebook asking friends to ‘answer these ten questions about yourself’ — in order to gather personal information about people for the purpose of identity theft or hacking into people’s accounts.
There may be other reasons as well.