How To Spot A Fake Social Media Profile
Fake Social Media Profile
Last week Patricia Fernandez, mayor of Archena, denounced a Twitter account that supplanted her identity. Said false profile haunted social networks with the mayor’s name, personal photos, and under the biography “next president of the PP of the Region of Murcia and the regional government.”
In addition, the usurpation of identity arises at a critical moment for Fernandez since he is a political figure who is in the spotlight as a possible replacement for Fernando Lopez Miras, current President of the Murcia region.
Given the controversial dissemination of the account, the councilor of the municipality published a video on Twitter. She maintains that these actions are typical of “cowardly people with the sole intention of trying to harm and discredit.” Additionally, Fernández has reported him to the National Police.
Consequently, the false profile, Patriciers (@patriciersPP), has been reported after processing the complaint filed. In this case, the injured party has solved the problem in an exemplary manner, but there are many cases in which it is more challenging to identify profiles that are not true.
Identity Theft, One Of The Most Used Forms Of Cybercrime
As a result of this news, we spoke with Lorena García, CEO of Communicate and an expert in social networks, who tells us the following about identity theft: “Politicians, large corporations or the profiles of celebrities and influencers are usually the “targets” from cybercriminals and hackers.”
Impersonation is one of the most common types of “scams in social networks. “Among other objectives, by posing as a person or a company that they are not, cybercriminals seek to extort or discredit the person or company they are trying to impersonate, or also steal personal information from users, make some type of payment or infect the device being used with some malware.”
How To Know If We Are Facing A Fake Profile On Social Networks?
On many occasions, we can come across profiles on social networks that are bots or managed by real people who impersonate someone. As Lorena Garcia tells us: “When you are familiar with social networks, it is relatively easy to identify if an account is fake or not. But we have to remember that many people who use the networks often do not know how they work or if they are being victims of some scam”.
Some indicators that can tell us that we are facing false profiles are:
- Published photos or profile photos: in case of showing perfect images, typical of models or recognized people, the photographs can be extracted from image banks. One of the easiest ways to find this out is to do a search using Google images.
- The imbalance between followings and followers: Typically, fake profiles have many followers but few followings.
- The content: many of the accounts created to impersonate someone usually includes photos of that person, but the descriptions are empty. In addition, many images are often published in a short time to “fill out” the profile and make it appear authentic.
- Inactivity: if the profile has few publications and infrequent publications, it may be a fake account that is only used to impersonate a natural person or company.
- Usernames are very similar (but not the same) to the username being spoofed, but include some special symbol or interspersed letters or sometimes when dealing with accounts created by bots, a series of random numbers.
What to do if we detect a false account that tries to impersonate our identity or that of someone we know?
Lastly, we must bear in mind that currently, social networks do not have all the necessary tools to identify all cyber criminals since it is not possible to verify 100% that the person who creates the account is who they say they are.
Indications to consider when we detect a possible false version that tries to impersonate us or that impersonates someone we know.
- First of all, notify the person that the account is impersonating, especially if it is someone we follow, since the cybercriminal may be trying to contact their followers to carry out some scam.
- We may also report fake accounts or suspicious activity on the social networks themselves, as this may speed up removing or completely deleting the statement from the platform.
In this way, we cannot ignore the fact that identity theft is a crime, so we must report it to the State Security Forces and Bodies whenever we are victims of it.
Likewise, when dealing with false accounts on social networks, we must pay special attention, so the best way to protect ourselves is to be cautious and intervene quickly as soon as an anomaly is detected, reporting it to the authorities.