Safer Online Part 16 – How to Tell if Someone is Who They Say They Are

How to Tell if Someone is Who They Say They Are

Most of the people who you meet online will be genuine, but some will use fake profiles designed to draw you in and manipulate you. Luckily, you can usually verify if someone is telling the truth about their identity by using a few simple tricks.

Verify their picture:

Check to see if their profile picture is a real person.

If other photographs on their account show the same person, they may be telling the truth. You can save one of these photos to your computer and use Google’s reverse image search to check if it appears anywhere else online.

If it appears in a lot of places, they may be using a stolen profile photo. But, if it only appears on their profile, chances are it is a photo of them.

Check their friend count:

Do they have any other friends on their account? If you are the only friend they have, they might be using a fake profile to target you.

If they have other friends, do the friends ever post anything to the person‘s timeline that might indicate they know each other in real life? If not, they could be using a fake profile to attract several targets who have never met them before.

Check their status updates and posts:

Are their status updates regular, everyday posts about their life? Or, are they mostly posting links and advertisements? If they are mostly posting links and ads, it is likely that they are using a fake profile to scam people or make sales.


Have they told you not to tell anyone about them? If so, this indicates that they could have ill intentions and that they are not a genuine friend.


Have they asked you for money, or told you they are in a bad situation and need help with money? If so, they are likely posing as a friend in order to scam you.

If you suspect that your online friend isn‘t who they claim to be, you should stop talking to them and block their account.

Check in again next week for the next instalment:  Signs that Something Might be Wrong Online