What’s this, a new friend request? Oh, he or she looks attractive and/or successful; maybe I should accept the request, right?
The easy answer is, no, if you don’t really know the person, don’t accept any social media invitations to connect, join a circle or group, like a page, plus one something, etc. That is the best way to protect yourself from fake profiles and invented people that participate in social media.
But it really comes down to what you want out of your online experience. Maybe your “friend count” is the most important, maybe you are fine with communicating and flirting with a person you know probably isn’t really that person, but you enjoy the engagement. Maybe you believe you are too smart to get fooled into thinking someone’s real info is false.
Here are a couple of quick tips to validate (if you so desire) online profiles:
#1: Look at the pictures. Are they all well-produced images? Do they look professionally shot? If there aren’t any “around the house” photos, chances are the pics are ripped from another site. How many pics do they have, only five? With all those “friends,” and no one has tagged him/her, ever?
#2: Search the images. Google has an amazing feature—image search. Copy the profile image, drag it into the search bar, and BAM, you can see every place on the Internet that uses the photo. In the case of females, the less they are wearing the better chance it’s a stolen image from some Eastern European adult site.
#3: What do they post? Is it ad or agenda related? Do they just post more well-produced photos and things that are tied to real people or events?
#4: Whom are their friends? Do you see real interaction, or just a bunch of fans or lonely losers complimenting pics?