How To Spot Fake Instagram Accounts Instantly
Fake Instagram accounts are becoming more and more common, with fraudsters impersonating celebrities and companies in order to solicit money or gain followers. Beyond impersonators, there are several influencer accounts that are taking advantage of unknowing brands by buying fake likes and followers to appear bigger than they truly are, resulting in them getting brand deals that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to close. It can be hard to tell the difference between a real and a fake account, but there are several warning signs that you can look out for.
Notice account age and followers
One of the easiest ways to spot a fake Instagram account is to look at their account age and followers. If they have been around for a while but have very few or no followers, it could be a sign that the profile is fake. Similarly, if they have thousands of followers but were only recently made, that could also indicate a suspicious account. There are perfectly legitimate examples, however, of new accounts going viral quickly. This happens often when the account belongs to a celebrity or maybe an influencer who lost their old account but is rebuilding. It can also happen if the account was smart about using targeted ads or a string of shoutouts from other influencers, theme pages, or meme pages in order to grow quickly. Given that we have these cases, we need to dive deeper into looking at the influencer’s Instagram followers themselves.
Check the bio, username, and posts
Many fake accounts have obvious giveaways in their profile bios and usernames. If the username is just a string of random numbers or letters, this may indicate a fake account. Similarly, if the bio is filled with typos or generic descriptions that don’t actually relate to them or their subject matter, it’s likely a fake account. You should comb through a sample of followers of the account you’re examining in order to determine if their followers exhibit any of these traits. Additionally, you’ll find many of these fake accounts don’t have profile pictures and rarely post pictures at all. The fake accounts that are a bit more realistic do have content, but often the content is minimal and random.
Examine posted content
Fake Instagram accounts typically post low-quality, outdated content. An account that posts photos from many years ago or has many pictures of random places and items is likely to be a bot. If you find an account that appears to be real, but the posts are not genuine, chances are it’s a fake account. For example, some scammers will create profiles of attractive people in order to build trust and scam followers out of money or information. These are often the most direct scams on Instagram, taking advantage of trusting users. When vetting an influencer, though, it’s more about checking their followers’ content rather than their own, since in all likelihood they will have genuine content since they’re building their own brand.
Look at comments and likes
Fake accounts often have few or no comments on their posts. If the account has comments, look to see if they appear to be coming from real people. Fake accounts will often have a high ratio of likes to comments, so if the post is receiving hundreds of likes but only a few comments, it could be a fake account. Additionally, look out for spam comments or generic messages such as “Wow!” or “Nice!” that indicate the post may not be genuine. Given a lot of people have caught on to the generic single-word comments, a lot of fake engagement creators use generic compliments as sentences, but those rarely are relevant and are easy to spot if you pay attention. When examining an influencer’s content, take a look at who likes their posts and screen for the factors we’ve discussed already up until this point.
Putting it all together
When looking at fake accounts, you always need to look at multiple layers. At the surface, if you’re considering using an influencer, odds are their accounts will look real at first. They will have proper usernames, proper bios, and ample content with legitimate captions. These are the Instagram accounts that are harder to assess. You’ll have to dive into their followers, likes, and comments, and analyze those accounts. Fake accounts are usually poorly set up without much content (let alone relevant content), with missing pieces and throwaway names and no profile pictures. Remember, it’s impossible to determine by hand if an influencer’s account is entirely real or fake given that they have thousands and thousands of followers. As you scale, your best bet is to use a platform like Smartfluence that vets influencers before bringing them into a network. As a result, you can have peace of mind knowing that a 3rd party has already done the legwork for you and curated a selection of influencers that match your needs while retaining their authenticity.
If you’re interested in learning more about influencer marketing and how Smartfluence can help you establish and scale your influencer marketing campaigns, feel free to book a demo here.