Most of us have hundreds of friends on social media, even though we barely talk to half the people on our list. We share our personal photos and status updates to the world on a daily basis, showcasing our lives to people we don’t know. Sometimes we don’t even check whether or not we know someone before adding them to our social media friend lists. Because of this, we could be sharing our personal information with a scammer that could help them access our bank accounts. This is why it is important to know how to tell your online friend is fake this National Friendship Day so that your profile is only visible to your real friends.
How to Tell Your Online Friend is Fake on National Friendship Day
1. They Either Have 1,000 Friends or No Friends At All
Most of the time, scammers can buy followers for their social media profiles to make it look like they have friends. However, if you look at their online friends’ profiles, you will see that a lot of them barely post on their profiles. This is due to the fact that most of their bought online friends are also fake profiles.
You can also tell when a fake profile has bought engagement when their fake friends like their posts or leave generic comments, such as “Pretty pic” or “Congratulations.” They usually won’t say anything personable. If they have no friends on their friends’ list, this might also mean that it’s a fake profile.
2. Their Photos Look Too Good to Be True
Scammers will claim to be the person in the images they post, even though these photos look too good to be true. Usually, the photo is edited, looks like it came from a professional photo shoot, or doesn’t look like an average person. This is because usually, scammers steal images from models, social media influencers, or celebrities that are not as well-known.
When they post a photo, they also come up with a cheesy quote rather than a personable caption like everyone else comes up with when posting an image. They might also post either too many images in a day, or barely any images at all of themselves. If you are questioning whether or not an image is real, you can run a reverse image search with Social Catfish to see whose photo it actually is.
3. They Post Popular Quote Pictures or Popular Stock Photos
Scammers usually post popular quotes or stock photos to their social media pages in order to fill their profiles up with content. They think that in order to showcase that they are a real person, they need to post on their social media profile every day.
However, it’s easy to post on social media as a scammer when you are posting the most popular photos and quotes. Therefore, it’s always good to remind yourself that just because someone is active on social media, it doesn’t mean that they are a legit person.
4. They Post Status Updates That Advertise a Link to a Website or Investment Opportunity
Many scammers will show their true colors once they post phishing links to a legit-looking online store or lottery site. Victims click on these links thinking that they can’t pass up a good opportunity. They enter their personal and financial information in order to purchase something or enter the sweepstakes. Once they give away their information, scammers use it to drain their bank accounts and commit identity theft. They even install malware on their victims’ devices.
They might even post an investment opportunity, claiming that victims will triple their money guaranteed if they just send a small portion of it to the scammer. Victims believe that this opportunity is legit and send their personal and financial information over to the scammer. However, instead of receiving money back, they instead receive a stolen bank account and identity.
5. They Message You Randomly and Ask For Money
Scammers usually add their victims randomly and message them out of the blue, claiming that they want to get to know them more. They will state that they are the most gorgeous person that they have ever seen, even though they know that what they are saying is all a lie. Scammers message their victims on daily basis and act as if they care in order to gain their victim’s trust.
Then, as soon as the victim has grown close to them, they start asking for money for emergency excuses. They might claim that they are about to lose their job or their life is on the line if they don’t get their money. However, these are all lies in order to drain their victim’s bank account and are never true.
How to Avoid Fake Online Friends on National Friendship Day
- Make sure to only add people that you recognize or know on social media.
- Video chat or meet your friends in real life before assuming that they are legit.
- Be wary of suspicious messages from people you barely know claiming they want to get to know you better.
- If someone asks you for personal or financial information, block them immediately.
- Don’t send anyone any form of payment including gift cards, wire transfers, Bitcoin, fake checks, and more.
- Report any suspicious status updates that advertise a link or investment opportunity.
- Keep an eye out for how their online friends engage with their profiles.
- Check and see if their online friends have posted anything recently.
- Be wary if they share popular photos more than they share their own personal photos.
- Stay away from those who have no friends and one photo on social media.
- Report any fake online friend to the FTC if you have been a victim of their schemes.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You on National Friendship Day!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you are trying to figure out how to tell that your online friend is fake this National Friendship Day.