Recently I met a business colleague for Lunch and she recounted a strange incidence of a elaborate fake profile on a matrimony site. Also you keep reading in newspapers about how, fake profile befriended gullible teens and blackmailed them after collecting lot of information about them. There are also spammers and financial fraudsters who can gain lot of information about you by befriending you on facebook. Even very cautious and otherwise intelligent people sometime fall prey to this fraud. The culprit seems to be the belief that if you have common friends and the photo looks normal enough one can trust the profile.
There are many complex ways of doing this. For facebook in particular there are apps which do behavioral analyses and predict if the profile is fake. These apps are specific to However one simple way would be to do a reverse image check on the profile picture. The process is simple.
- Click on the profile pic; Right click (or ctrl click, or hold depending on the device). Copy the image URL. Alternatively one can download the picture too.
- Go to images.google.com (Many other sites too, but google is well well-known).
- click on the camera icon in the search box and upload the profile pic or paste the URL from step 1.
- If search throws other pics/profiles with different contexts and names then you know you have a fake profile.
Once that is established you can report the profile to the concerned website. For facebook the link is https://www.facebook.com/help/167722253287296; Facebook explicitly states that
We don’t allow accounts that:
However given the nature of these fake profile creators they will come back in other avatars but at least you have a method of detecting. One prudent(but conservative) approach in general would be not to add anyone that you haven’t met offline.
Stay Safe !!