How to spot a fake Instagram influencer account

Yes, you read it right. We follow a lot of influencers on Instagram but, how can we know if it's a fake account? In our endeavors to keep users safe and secured, there are many things that we can do; however, your awareness of the dangers out there, is just as important!

There are plenty of fake influencer accounts on Instagram and what is even more alarming is that these fake accounts are the new way through which the online scammers are targeting you. As per recent reports, some scams via Instagram you have to watch out for are:

  1. Phishing scams.
  2. Giveaway scams.
  3. Loan scams.
  4. Job scams.
  5. Credit card fraud.

There is danger lurking around every corner with fake accounts, fake likes, and fake engagement on Instagram.

Of course, we tend to believe that accounts with a good number of followers are always genuine and that makes it even more difficult for us to figure out a difference between fake and genuine accounts. A new study by HypeAuditor also found 45 percent of Instagram accounts were fake so, we thought of sharing some of the methods that can help you identify fake Instagram accounts and will keep you protected in the digital space.

Odd Profile Pic

When you come across a fake account, your senses will surely tingle as it’s clear most of the time. Check what the profile picture looks like. The first thing we notice is the profile picture. Right? But sometimes the profile picture doesn’t look real. Many fake accounts will use a stolen image as their profile image, often of a person that already looks like an influencer. You can even try Google images. It is the most comprehensive image search on the web in today's age and time. Download the image and search for it on Google images and you will get to know if someone is faking it.

How to use google reverse search on an image:

Go to images.google.com, click the camera icon, and either paste in the URL for an image you've seen online, upload an image from your hard drive, or drag an image from another window.

⚠️ Limited content

The other element that can help you identify the fake Instagram account is the content. A genuine Instagram account will have content posted from time to time on regular intervals. However, a fake account may not have enough content. They are not consistent. You will also notice sometimes these accounts post a lot of content on the same day and their pictures don’t look real.

⚠️ Never been tagged in pictures/videos

This is the most important one! If the account is real then it should be seen tagged in other people’s photos or videos. Whether they are in the picture or a video. Ideally, there should be many out there

⚠️ Number of followers not in proportion to the engagement.

You never thought of this right? But always check the number of followers. It is not necessary that fake accounts have fewer followers. Sometimes fake accounts have a very high number of followers. Then what to do? Just check the engagement rate. The average influencer has around 5-7% organic engagement on their posts. If you feel it's high, that means the account holder has purchased fake followers.

⚠️ Indistinct comments.

Keep an eye on the comments. If the comments are all emojis or read more like spam or vague, like “Love it!” or “you rock!”, then these comments may have been written by a bot of the fake followers.

⚠️ Too many stock images

If everything looks like it was taken by a professional photographer, or if the person in selfies looks different each time, this account may be using stock imagery. Use a reverse image on google images to search to see if these photos appear anywhere else on the internet.

⚠️ The followers don’t look real.

Scrolling through the followers should show you real people with a wide variety of profiles. If you see followers with no profile pic, or the same profile ones, this account is fake and has definitely bought the followers.

Well, these are some of the tips we could think of to help you identify fake accounts. While we understand, not everyone has the time for this research. But even if you follow 2 or 3 tips you will be able to protect yourself from fake accounts and their scams. Also, make sure you change your password from time to time, don’t overshare your personal information, and more importantly, stay cautious in the digital world.

Thanks for reading!
Shikha Dutt & Tomer Yair Zemel

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