Social media has become a very important part of our lives. We use it to stay connected with friends and family, as well as keep up with news and events. But what happens when someone starts impersonating you online?
It's easy for scammers to create fake social media accounts by the thousands every day. Anyone can be a target -- celebrities, influencers, businesses, and even regular people. In fact, in the first quarter of 2022, Facebook (who also run instagram), took action on 1.6 billion fake accounts. And that is just one social media platform!
You might have seen some of these imposter accounts as you scrolled through your social media feeds or checked your DMs. Fraudsters often take pictures and posts from real high-profile pages, use a similar name and reach out to the followers of the real page with the intention of scamming them. These accounts are extremely harmful because they cause damage to your brand's reputation -- which means they will cost more money in advertising dollars down the road!
Fake accounts are a huge issue in the world of social media. They can be used to harm businesses and individuals, as well as fake news that can lead to real world consequences.
Fake accounts have been around for a long time, but they've only recently become more prevalent thanks to the rapid growth of social media platforms.
In fact, this same problem has been plaguing Facebook since at least 2017 when it began to crackdown on fake accounts by suspending them from using their platform. But even today there are still millions of fake profiles out there trying to scam people out of their hard-earned money or information like passwords or credit card numbers.
The best way to protect yourself from fake accounts is to keep an eye out for them. The more you know about the people behind these accounts, the better prepared you'll be to spot them in your social media feeds.
Since 2022, I noticed a huge increase on fake accounts impersonating readers/spiritualists on instagram. We hear about the account pretty quickly as were all in the community and alert each other about the accounts. However, a lot of innocent people who follow us are not aware of what is going on and have fallen victim to these accounts losing money being scammed.
What are instagram doing about this though? Not much! Instagram do not have a direct email or telephone number to reach out to them directly. They make you fill out a form. Once you have submitted a form, you must wait for them to contact you to ask for more information such as your ID to prove you are who you are. The accounts should be removed within 24 hours. However there have been several times instagram have not removed the fake account after receiving my government ID. Whilst this happens I continue to hear from my followers that someone has a fake account and is scamming people and in some cases people think its my legitimate account and think I am the one scamming them! This is wild!.
Here are some tips on how to spot a fake account:
- Look at the photos. Were the photos all uploaded on the same date? Are the photos in poor quality? If you scroll down to the bottom of the photo feed, do the photos at the bottom match the aesthetics of the top o the feed? Do the comments and likes match the following? 10% of our follows interact with our posts. If this is less, then this is likely to be a sign for a fake account.
- Check 'about this account' tab. You can do this by clicking the three dots on any of the pictures on the account. This tells you when they joined instagram, Where the account is based in, and what formers usernames they had previously. If theyve just made the account recently, this is a cause for concern. Also if the account is based in Nigeria this is also an obvious sign.
- Check the reel's page and stories. Usually the fake accounts cant be bothered to copy and steal reel's or add anything to their stories. If this is blank, this is a sign its a fake account.
- Google the person and their other platforms. When you google the reader, you will find their other platforms and you might even find their official social media.
- Messages. If the account is sending you messages proposing you to pay them for a service and the person is a public figure of some sort, this might be a sign the account is fake. Public figures don’t direct message followers.
- Language choice. If you were to get a message from the reader or notice they have written captions, look out for grammatical errors. Usually scammers use poor english skills. This might indicate they are not native speakers.
- Paying for a service. Before you put your money anywhere, you want to spend some time researching into that readers background. Payments should only be made directly with the reader through their website and not through any other exchange. If it was a PayPal link, always check if the link matches the name of the reader you are investing in.
If the account in mind seems suspicious to you, find the original account owner, let them know, confirm its a fake account, report the account and then block.
Heres some examples of the fake accounts impersonating me my followers have come across. All the names of the account are abbreviated or they have added an underscore.
My real instagram account is @HoneysAstro
Author and (fake account survivor lol) Honey