Creating fake social media accounts has been the favorite trick of hackers and scammers for interacting with potential victims. However, thanks to Google Search now you can identify if such an account is real or fake by searching the profile picture.
Users are very much familiar with the scenario where friendship requests are received from people they don’t know. These requests come from a profile with attractive pictures.
It is possible that this kind of interaction is made for fulfilling nefarious purposes and plenty of cases have emerged in which people were lured to infected locations of phishing pages. Therefore, you need to be alert all the time.
You may be surprised to know that searching for the profile pic can be highly beneficial in this regard.
You can easily verify the legitimacy of any profile on social media by searching for the profile picture on Google. If it appears in results other than the social media account then you must understand that the account is fake.
Here is an example profile:
Right click on the profile picture and go for Search Google for this image:
Here are the results:
The profile picture belongs to some model! Not some John Kerry dude! Wait.. John Kerry? lol
A board member at the Malwarebytes security firm, Alex Eckelberry, also identified a few scammers through this strategy.
He explained on his personal blog:
“I got a very pretty woman friending me on Facebook recently. I don’t get pretty women friending me on Facebook. Anyway, she looked familiar… and it turned out it was someone using Taylor Swift’s photo.”
Similarly, a person using John Kerry’s name sent him a request on LinkedIn and when Eckelberry searched on Google Images, it turned out that the picture was of a model promoting modern hairstyles for males.
Moral of the story: Beware of requests from unknown people on social media networks.
Good looking people requesting for friendship on social networks is rather a common trick used by scammers and people must be alert. However, most of the time unsuspecting users respond positively and become victims of numerous online scams.
It is a fact that many scammers use publicly available pictures for their profiles but it is also worth noting that not all scammer do so.
Be careful before accepting an unknown friend request on social media platforms.