Current category:Tips and Tricks

How do I spot a fake Facebook profile?

There are definately a lot of fake Facebook profiles out there. Numbers released from Facebook themself suggests that 83 million facebook accounts are fake – that’s more than the total number of people living in France and the Netherlands combined! An estimated 5-6% of all Facebook accounts are fake. Fake autogenerated profiles offer the creators of those the possibility of spamming your wall with weird content and also bloat the number of fans for certain pages.

There are some studies of fake Facebook profiles that indicate that fake profiles have a higher average number of friends and most often identify themselves as females.  For identifying whether a specific profile is fake these studies however only offer vague clues.

So how to spot a fake Facebook profile?

Looking at a company Facebook page the other day I noticed an unnatural high number  of fans for that type of company but strangely very low fan activity on the same Facebook page. Very few likes and no comments made it a bit of a strange case. I did find a few Likes though and decided to have a closer look at those profiles. I came up with the following little trick which also will introduce you to a great and not that well-known feature of Google. Here goes:

1. Locate the Profile image of the Facebook profile you want to check. For this little test let’s use the SPAMfighter Aim logo present on the SPAMfighter Facebook page.

SPAMfighter Facebook

2. Right-click on the image and save it somewhere where you easily can find it again! The Windows desktop would be a great place!

3. Now enter Google Image Search. Google Image Search is a great tool where you can search for images based on other images. I would suggest using Google Chrome or Firefox as Browser here. For some reason it does not seem to work for Internet Explorer 9.

4. Drag the recently saved file from your desktop til the search field. It is a little nifty but you will probably work it out!

Google image search

5. Now Google Image Search will check where the image is present on Facebook profiles and a lot of other places on the Internet.

If we for a moment return to my original fake profile my search using the above method actually produced a lot of Facebook profiles having the same profile image. See below. My best guess is that most of those Facebook profiles are fake!

Remember to delete any profile images you download from Facebook by the way. Pretty sure Facebook or Facebook users don’t want their profile images laying around on your computer!

Are anyone stealing your Facebook profile image?

A nice little test would of cource be to test whether any fake Facebook profiles use your profile image? Using the test above it is pretty easy to reveal. So locate your own Facebook page, save the profile image you use and do the Google image search. If you notice your profile image present on other profiles I suggest you report it to Facebook using this link.

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About Kim Falkner

Blogger with a passion for IT-security, online marketing and blogging. Follow me on Google+ (+Kim Falkner) or LinkedIn (Kim Falkner on LinkedIn)
This entry was posted in Tips and Tricks and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

126 Comments

  1. Kara says:

    That is very interesting. It is better to have fewer but active fans than to have a bunch of fake fans with no activity.

  2. Kim Falkner says:

    thank you Kara. It seems some prefer having a lot of fake fans instead of few real fans. If that was’nt so all those offers selling fake fans would die

  3. Amber says:

    I agree, having a bunch of fake fans and followers make you look bad IMO, especially if there is no engagement on your profiles. It is easy to see it too.

  4. George G says:

    Shitty Facebook. Why do they not do the same facebook profile picture test each time someone creates a new profile or change profile picture? That shoulnt be rocket science

  5. Kim Falkner says:

    You are right George. It should not be that difficult for them to check whether an account use an existing Facebook profile image and figure out that they where dealibng with a fake Facebook account. Facebook also considered facial recognition at some point but it was a bit too controversial.

  6. Angel says:

    I hope those that sell fake FB fans go out of business fast. They do more harm than good.

  7. Alex says:

    Check the user’s past activity. If its nil then you know it is fake.

  8. jake says:

    that shit doesnt work at all

  9. Kim Falkner says:

    Hi Jake

    Feel free to elaborate. Are you using the correct browser?

    Happy new year!

  10. Miriam Tow says:

    Great FB ressource guys. Thanx

  11. Carlo Vai says:

    So are these fake profiles generated by somme bots or is it scumbag nutheads just grabbing random facebook profiles and reusing them? Nevertheless annoying and it should be easy for FB to stop this or just warn us

    Over and out

  12. Cara says:

    great trick Thank you. Found A few fakeish facebook users

  13. Daniel Statescu says:

    There is always FB Checker. It might not be 100% accurate, but at least it’s a good start and it’s free. It will check all photos that you select. Works similar to Google Images but it’s a lot easier and faster because it focuses on Facebook profiles. You can get it from fbchecker.com

  14. Dan says:

    You can just install the Chrome extension to search by image on right click. No need to save and drag every time.

    PS: Salut Daniel Statescu

  15. nalin says:

    This was indeed very useful. I always worry that if I add someone randomly I might be inviting a stranger to hack my account. I would definitely use the tool and make sure that it is not a fake account before adding.

  16. Windell says:

    Tineye is another great tool to use when verifying image authenticity. You can reverse image search using the official website (https://www.tineye.com/) or you can use the Chrome browser . Personally, I use the plugin since it’s so convenient.

  17. Kim Falkner says:

    Thank you Windell. That is a great plugin.

  18. Jonathan says:

    These are great tips! I’ve been on FB for three years and thought I was pretty FB literate, but some of these things I wasn’t even aware of. Thanks!

  19. Peter says:

    If you’re trying to figure out if an FB profile is fake or legit, I’d also suggested looking into person’s friends list and seeing who the friends are connected to. If all the ‘friends” are connected to each other and no one else, steer clear.

  20. Laurie Owen says:

    I have been involved with a group of people who are looking into not only fake profiles on Facebook, but also the whole 419 Scammer phenomenon in general. We’ve found that there are a few red flag clues in any facebook profile: 1) date they joined facebook. 2) “about”–if it’s apparently a man, and their interest is in women, that’s a red flag. 2) look at their friends. If the profile is apparently a man, and all their friends are women, that’s a red flag. 3) look carefully at their likes and groups. You’ll often find pretty clear evidence of their true intentions in one of those places. 4) look carefully at the posts on the timeline itself. Are they mainly spam, or weird comments in broken English, while the person is supposedly from Alabama, New York or Switzerland, South Carolina? Red flag. 5) If they send you a message and call you “dear”, BIG red flag. 6) Does the name on the url match the name on the profile? No? Red flag. 7) Is the profile picture of a woman, but the little message about asking them for friendship says “he”, uh yes. Red flag. I hope this helps.

  21. Soraya says:

    In the era of catfishing, these tips are very relevant. Any advice on how to spot a fake Tumblr or Twitter account? Or could the Facebook advice be generalize to other platforms?

  22. Kim Falkner says:

    @laurie

    Thank you. Those are great tips!

  23. Maria says:

    Great article! I’m sending this to my children right now.

  24. Scott says:

    I did research on this for a school paper ad few months ago. From what I learned: most fake FB profiles identify themselves as female, have 700+ friends, and have never updated their status. The best detector is your gut. If something is telling you this person is unauthentic, unfriend them and let your friends know not to fall prey to this individual.

  25. Tina Mills says:

    I don’t see how they do it, I’m trying to figure out how to make 2 different facebooks on the same computer, one for me and one for my daughter (with her knowing that is) and I can’t even figure out how to do that. Maybe I’m stupid!!! Could someone please help me!

  26. Kim Falkner says:

    Hi Tina,

    Not sure what you mean but if you are logged into Facebook you should logout and then choose “create an account” for the new Facebook account for your daughter.

    You will have to login and logout every time you want to switch accounts. You could also have to different browsers on your computer and then use each browser for each account. I do advice the logout version though. That is much more secure.

  27. Miro says:

    Great tip. Thank you!

  28. Neil W says:

    Nice trick. You can also look for the verified Facebook account badge.

  29. Oliver says:

    Many legitimate facebook accounts are not verified so that only offers vague clues. check the profile image as stated in the article and look for strange patterns in friends and postings if it is an open profile.

  30. susanta das says:

    I want only the fake facebook user location or mail account

  31. George says:

    Also check for whether a facebook profile is verified

  32. thedress says:

    chrome has an extension that lets you right click on an image and search for it

  33. yash mehra says:

    Like

  34. Very nice blog, I like this blog.

  35. Dj says:

    FB offers no safety in practical terms. The EU just handed down a report after several years investigating FB invasive and illegal conduct. However it is only available to non US & Canadian citizens. I’ve been stalked on FB Tumblr Twitter LinkedIn etc. FB made it impossible to truly report anything. Block is a joke to someone who has 100 profiles and gets in to your account adds “friend” deletes your entire activity line changes posts and attaches it to another profile. I hope they loose their shirt in the number of huge lawsuits pending and those coming.

  36. contohsurat says:

    Nice trick, Thanks for sharing.

  37. i have to try this tip. thanks mate

  38. CP says:

    What if you get people liking your page from other countries who have nothing in common with you or don’t have friends in common rather? How can I block them and why would they want to “like” my page if their profile is seemingly empty. No posts, 1 profile pic, no cover photo and zero friends?

  39. anirudh ry says:

    better to check the activity log before doing all these things……

  40. i agree with anirudh, you have check a log or history that account first

  41. Wakwaw says:

    min morning, hopefully in today better than yesterday.

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  43. Shawn Begay says:

    Thanks a lot this came in handy, I found a fake profile account with some random person I friended. Without your help this would of gotten out of control.

  44. Thank you for this tutorial, hope this usefull for me

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  48. Mickey Dregoiw says:

    http://blog.spamfighter.com/tips-and-tricks/how-do-i-spot-a-fake-facebook-profile.html.

    I followed your instructions, saved my timeline to my desktop, but Google Image Search requires image to be in certain formats, definitely not HTML. So how do I get it into jpeg so that I can do an image search?????????//

    Yes, I was hacked and want to see if the other is still out there so that I can report to FB

  49. Hi Mickey you have to take a screenshot if you can’t right click and “Save image as” on the picture. You shouldn’t save your timeline just the image.

  50. Beverly Seganti says:

    This information is incorrect. If you drag your Facebook image to Google, your results will be for every Facebook page you have ever commented on using your current photo. These are NOT separate Facebook ACCOUNTS. I just did this and I can see Facebook groups that I’m in and other liked pages that I have commented on.

  51. The article is very interesting to read , and is also beneficial to add to our knowledge .

  52. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little homework on this.
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  56. donnalambert i says:

    I been getting a lot of spammers and i just got one say i win lottery on facebook i save it

  57. John says:

    “Are anyone stealing your Facebook profile image?” and “It is a little nifty but you will probably work it out!” Really? Do you mean “IS anyone” and “a little Iffy”? Please enlighten me as to why no one else commented on grammar and usage?

  58. Thanks for sharing, now i know who is use fake facebook 🙂 thanks a loot
    Daftar Lirik Lagu

  59. Wendy Mockus says:

    How can i tell if someone is really in Afghanistan, like a soldier

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  63. Romeo Avatar says:

    Excellent information and facts. Only real difficulty I was basically receiving was viewing the pics. No idea exactly why

  64. thank you Kara. It seems some prefer having a lot of fake fans instead of few real fans. If that was’nt so all those offers selling fake fans would die – See more at: http://blog.spamfighter.com/tips-and-tricks/how-do-i-spot-a-fake-facebook-profile.html#sthash.C38gKKN9.dpuf

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  70. Ziaol says:

    thanks you so much kara,The article is very interesting to read , and also beneficial to add to our knowledge .

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  71. Just me says:

    Thanks for sharing. really informative. This is applicable in checking if a certain account is fake or not. However, if right now, i wanted to know if anyone created a fake account and used any of my photos, how will I know find out?

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  73. sony mehta says:

    Dear sir i need help its regarding my fb account

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  75. Fake facebook account is very widespread today, even some who disturb the other facebook users. Thank you for the information, I deserve to try …

  76. Kerry says:

    How can I find out the location of a facebook friend? The profile tells me but not sure it’s the truth. Could you send me a list of Red flags to watch out for, please. Thank you.

  77. Nikki says:

    Hey, people always say one of the ways to see if a profile is fake is if they have all GUYS/GIRLS on thier page? I have all guys! Im flirty thats all, ans im not fake at all 🙁 I just like guys, if u see it says when i joined and when i was born, which was all many year ago lol, and also wtf is wrong with saying you are interested in the oposite sex, lots have that put down. I seem to be chronically single and so i say that… It annoyes me that some of the red flags are things that i do!. Mind u i do not have lots of friends, its about 30. Im totaly real tho!, and this really bothers me. I donr wsnt people to think im fake, some have…its very infuraiting, and i just cant believe it..

  78. Nikki says:

    Somtimes i have offered to let a person call me, and we meet up cuz they thought i was fake….that helps…they deffinitely know im real then, and i hope they feel stupid then lol

    🙂

  79. Nikki says:

    I suppose thats the only way to prove to someone im real, atleast phoning them right and talking to people in real life?? 🙂 i think thats a good way. I have no issiues giving my number out, unlike real fake ass people…

  80. Obat Ambeien says:

    Nice tips, semoga membantu dan bisa menolong sesama. thank’s again

  81. Shaun O. says:

    Im gonna go check this out right now . ive been talking to this girl on facebook for months now and everytime i try to meet up with her she has an excuse and never shows up. I think its sickening when people play with your mind like that. Im gonna go see if its a fake….!

  82. Sandy says:

    I do not have regular computer, but cell phone.
    How can I check image Search without it???
    I am talking to “soldier” in Kabul, Afghanistan, and would like to know who is behind profile picture.
    Thank you

  83. Nitin Dhomse says:

    This is awesome, but we don’t need to download the profile image just drag your profile picture from your facebook window, and drop it to google image search drop zone on another window.

    Thanks.

  84. Shirley Pearl Klix says:

    I am sure I have been hacked….how do I check? What steps do I need to do to correct it?

  85. Putlocker 4k says:

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  86. Marianne says:

    Thank you for this. the other way to check it is fake is if there is no name on their facebook link.
    For example: facebook.com/johndoe
    If it says profile.1234 something rather it is either a fake account or maybe they created a 2nd fb account for game playing or spying on their exes.
    Also you can sometimes.tell they are fake by nothing showing on their facebook account or they saod they joined today and have no friends.

    I admin a few fb groups. I keep myself up to date with fake accounts
    But thanks for this input too.

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  89. gilbert says:

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  90. Myra Shearer says:

    I wish to find out who the real person in the fake image is on my FB account. He is pretending to be a US army lieutenant general and that’s what the image shows but the same image has been posted with 3 different names. How can I find out whose photo is really being used in these scams?

  91. Angela says:

    What about people from Hollywood? But they misspell the first name. How do you know that’s fake or real?

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  95. Brian says:

    Right a very easy way to spot a fake profile that suddenly appears on your Facebook or Facebook messenger account is to check how many friends they have. If they have none or very few then it’s a fake. Do you honestly think there going to spend there time gathering friends so as to make it look plausable? Pain in the rear and if you ask me! It’s a fake and not real! So don’t buy it.

  96. Fbhater says:

    Its not hard to find a fake. Get 10 friend requests accept them all…bam 564 requests more… One was a bot connected to other pages…

  97. Chris justice says:

    This guy from Dry Branch Cabin Creek WV who’s bascially mentally changelled poses as a 17 year old girl name Virginia Urbanksi. He’s told others he was 20. This person doesn’t exist. He’s created other fake profiles. I don’t get why his family countines as everyone else of why they allow him to keep going on the computer making fake accounts spamming and harassing people. He’s got no real life friends. I don’t feel sorry. He’s also a sick pervert with down syndrome and retarded mind telling underage girls he wants them. CJ Brown is his name. Charles Brown Jr. He’s 29 years old. He’s luring boys and girls on Facebook under phony profiles. Be aware

  98. Kristen Ellis says:

    Delete your Facebook and go to the media about these trolls with fake accounts.

  99. Andrew Smith says:

    Virginia Urbanksi from Cabin Creek WV is a man posing as female with stolen pics. Be warned for anyone who gets a request. He’s sending viruses also out on Facebook.

  100. content and easy to read thanks

  101. Matt says:

    How can I spot a fake Facebook profile how do I know if there’s pictures on there or real or fake can you help me figure it out if I’m getting scammed

  102. Anita De Abreu says:

    Please notify me in case someone has my fake fb ….

  103. someone is take a video from me and will post it on facebook i don’t want that,but how can i stop that if she post it on family or friends

  104. spiken3333 says:

    Ok now, I’ve got to say something….

    Is all this article going to say is to do a Google image search and that’s it? How feeble. Most articles offer way more tips than this.

    Reading this was a waste of my time because of this. I’ve seen better elsewhere…..

  105. content and easy to read thanks

  106. Noel Fitzpatrick says:

    Hi, I am being spoofed on Facebook (using a profile pic of my kids!)…I reported the profile but FB said the profile was not against their community standards…I cannot just report the content (i.e the profile pic), because there is no Options option on the photo to select?’…and of course I can’t talk to a real human being in Facebook over the phone…Help please

  107. Kenny Campbell says:

    I tried this with my Facebook profile picture and it came back as no other images found and said alcohol as I was holding a beer. The funny thing is that I have 2 Facebook profiles with the same picture. This doesn’t work.

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  109. Rosail Maldonado says:

    Hi everyone…I was in a loving relationship with my husband for 13 years and we have three beautiful kids together. Things started changing when he got this new job that paid more, i started getting suspicious but i could never confirm anything until a colleague of mine introduced me to this computer surgeon hacker. He helped me spy on my husband without any physical access to her phone, i was able to receive his phone text messages and also messages from all his social media accounts in real time. Contact him today and thank me later (spymaster122@gmail.com). Tell him Rosail referred you, he will be willing to help..you can also contact for all sort of hacks

  110. J. B. Little says:

    Maybe this still works to contact FB directly –

    “Contact Facebook By Phone Call. Facebook customer care service phone number is (650) 543-4800. If you’re from outside of the united states, make sure to add international calling number for U.S.Feb 9, 2014

  111. gadai bpkb says:

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  113. Yuriy says:

    You don’t need to download anything. In Chrome, just point on the image, make sure that it’s the exact web address for the image and not a link thumbnail, right click and select Search Google for Image.

  114. Melanie says:

    Someone is posting things on my son’s Facebook page and saying he wrote it when he did not. How can we find out where this is coming from?

  115. Christina Urban Sørensen says:

    Dear Melanie,
    In this case, I would contact Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/help/

    Best,
    Christina/SPAMfighter

  116. Rosail Maldonado says:

    contact spymaster122@gmail.com im such here will help you out…

  117. Brenda ross says:

    I contacted fb and reported Donald Luke Facebook, because for six months, he was Thomas Shea from Brooklyn New York, now that photo is on 3 Facebook pages for Donald Luke, 2 say Oklahoma, 1 says Florida, Facebook says Donald Luke is okay, wrong!!!!

  118. How can I spot a fake Facebook profile how do I know if there’s pictures on there or real or fake can you help me figure it out if I’m getting scammed

  119. great content and easy to read thanks

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  121. Sanjay singh says:

    Becouse fake facebook user’s can openly open there heart , thoughts,and any type of views to the others user’s in other why we can see that our original face of our society. According to me I want to see originalty of our society.

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