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How to Identify Fake Profiles on Facebook

Madhushree Kelkar
Have you recently added a superstar personality to your Facebook account and are trying to figure out if he is fake or real? Adding impostors to your Facebook account can give them easy access to your personal information and photos, which they intend to misuse. Hence, it becomes all the more important to spot a fake Facebook account.

Startling but True!

According to Facebook's SEC filings, approximately 83 million accounts are fake.
There have been so many instances when people have been lured by fake profile users only to get disappointed later. Not only this, but many fake profiles have also rendered emotional harm to people by spreading their personal photos on sleazy websites.
There have also been instances where the people behind the fake profiles have even abetted others to commit suicide by resorting to bullying and blackmailing. It is even riskier, if teenagers are handling their Facebook accounts, as they easily fall prey to these impostors.
There are a few impostors who will craftily prepare a profile that will look exactly like a real one to deceive you and many others. However, hope is not lost.
By acting like a detective and investigating the requests before adding them, you can easily find out if an account is fake or real. Here are a few tips that will tell you how to spot a fake Facebook account.

Profile Information

The first thing you should do when you get a friend request from a suspicious person is to check the profile information.


Most of the time, bare minimum information will be given in the profile info section of a fake account. You may also find information which may be out of character--for example, sexually explicit content in the hobbies or in the personal information section.


Look for inconsistencies in their biographies. The information may be blown out of proportion in some cases. Also, there may be discrepancies in the names of States or cities for high school, college, university education, and place of work.


See if the impostor has given links to other social networking pages. Study his other profiles to understand if the account is genuine.

Phone Number

You may also find that a phone number may be on a free display for all. Give it a thought. In the wake of increasing number of cyber crimes, a girl will rarely make her phone number available to all.

Birth Date

One of the easiest ways is to verify if an account is fake or not is by checking their birth date. Many of the fake accounts have the default date of 01/01. This will give you a clue about the person.


See the kind of pages they have liked in their interest section.
If they have liked pages which are pornographic, sadistic, or sexually explicit in nature, it will be best to deny access to your account, as he/she may misuse your photos.

Relationship Status

The intention of the person behind creating a fake ID is to attract the attention of many people and get access to their profile and personal information. Hence, most of the time, they will give their status as "single."

Interested in Both Sexes

According to a study conducted by the Barracuda Networks about fake Facebook profiles, approximately 60% of fake profile owners claim to be bisexual. Also, 97% claim to be a female. This can give you a clue if the profile is fake or not.

Profile Photos

Another thing that will give obvious clues is the profile photo. It will give you a hint about the authenticity of the account.

Attractive Profile Pictures

Many times, you will find that the profile pictures of such accounts have 'too good to be true' pictures of male and female models. Many times, these pictures look airbrushed and professional.
This can tell you that the account may be fake. Also, the persons faking their identity may put up photos of skimpily clad people in order to grab your attention. If you come across such a profile, reject the request right away.

No Profile Pictures

There are fakers who do not put up any profile photo. This can also tell you that the profile is fake or else you would have been able to see their profile picture.

Random Profile Pictures

Another trick that these impostors use is that they put up random profile pictures of things, sceneries, animals, etc. Hence, you cannot determine the face behind the profile.

Identity Fakers

There are people who may fake an identity by putting up a stolen photo. In such cases, you can view all their profile photos and check for more photos with the same face. Mostly, you will only find a single profile picture. This will tell you that the ID is fake.

Low-resolution Profile Pictures

Sometimes, the impostors do not have access to others' accounts and just download the thumbnails of other people's photos while stealing their identities. This means that their profile picture will be grainy and pixelated. This is also an indication that the profile may be fake.

Normal Profile Pictures

If there is a normal profile picture, you can use the Google Image Search option as mentioned below or even check the name on Google Search to determine if the ID is fake. You will also find minimum personal photos of the person in the profile with his family or friends.

Try Out the Google Image Search

Step 1: Log in to your Facebook account, and go to the profile of the suspected person.
Step 2: Download the profile picture or its thumbnail.
Step 3: Go to Google Image Search.
Step 4: Click on the camera icon in the search box.
Step 5: Upload the profile picture or thumbnail, which you have downloaded.
Step 6: Google search will give relevant links to the image.
Step 7: If it gives malicious links, the profile is fake.

Spotting Celebrity Profiles

If you get a friendship request from a celebrity, don't get overjoyed and add them without investigating the authenticity of the account.
Most of the celebrities do not have their accounts on Facebook, and even if they do, they are supervised by their PR machinery. There are infinite fake celebrity accounts, which try to lure you by posting hot photos of the celebrities. Don't fall for this trap.

Album Photos

One look at their album will also give you an idea if their profile is fake or real.

Pornographic Photos

Most of the fake profiles do not lock away their albums from people who are not on their friends' list. Usually, they have photos which are pornographic in nature or sexually suggestive. They usually do this to get the attention of more and more people, so that their requests are accepted.

Different Photos

If the album has more photos of different people and very few of the person in the profile photo, then you can say that it is a fake account. Most of these impostors steal someone else's photos and identity. Hence, they do not have sufficient photos on the profile as a genuine person would possess.

Tagged Photos

You can also take a look at the tagged photos. According to a study conducted by the Barracuda Networks, fake accounts will tag far more photos than the real ones.
It can have as many as 136 tags per four photos. In most cases, you will find sexually explicit photos, and the person in the profile will not be found in them. You may also find the morphed photos of the person in the profile photo. Also, other people who must have tagged the suspected person may themselves have similar profiles like the fake one.

Comments on Photos

If the photos bear lewd comments from other people or from the suspected profile itself, you must thank your stars that you did not add this person to your friends' list.

Other Telltale Signs

Here are few more hints that will tell you if the account is fake or real.

Check the Wall

There are chances that their Facebook Wall is open for a free view to the world.
According to the study conducted by Barracuda Networks about Fake Facebook profiles, 43% fake profiles do not update their status. You can check what kind of comments they have got from others or what they have posted themselves. This will give you an idea about the character and intention of the person.

Interlinked Faking

A person who can make one fake account can also make many others to portray them as his friends. You may mistake the social interactions between this person and his other profiles as genuine ones and add him. However, beware that only one person might be running the whole show, so study their profiles for more clues.


Don't go by the number of friends they have. According to the Barracuda Networks' study, impostors have 6 times more friends than a real person.
This means, if an average real person has 130 friends, an impostor may have approximately 726 friends. This is because he keeps adding random people by luring them to his profile. Also, these impostors can make fake profiles with similar names on other social networking platforms.

Mutual Friends

Check if you have any mutual friends with the person who has sent you a request. If you don't have any common friends, it is best not to add this person.
However, impostors go to great lengths in proving that they have real identities, so they may also send requests to your friends and family members. Also, if they have too many global friends and very few local friends, their profile may be fake.


During a chat, if you find that someone is overtly praising your beauty or expressing his love for you without even knowing you, then beware, as it might be a fake account.
Keep an eye on the inconsistencies in the stories, which he will tell you. Also, if he asks for your sexy photos or starts chatting about getting physical, get the hint that he is a fake person who can put your photos for pornographic use. If someone you don't know is trying to bully you online, then it is advisable to block the person immediately.
Sometimes, you may be even dealing with a bot which you can identify by the old profile layouts, lack of chatting, few photo uploads, etc. Once you identify fake profiles, do not accept their request and block them right away. If they are on your friends' list already, then block them.
Also, go to the privacy settings section and alter them to restrict random people from sending you friendship requests. Also, report the fake accounts to Facebook. Don't just accept a request randomly, if you can't trace the person--ask him to remind you.
If he fails to, it is just not worth the effort. Now that you are aware of how to identify fake profiles on Facebook, ensure that your profile, personal identity, photos, and information are safe and sound.