Social Media Marketing: Identity Fraud Online We need to be safe on all levels including cyberspace.

There are certain things to look for when identifying a person or organization posing as a a fraud or something else they claim to be especially for malicious intent, for example, identity theft. Number one, trust your intuition if you have a fishy feeling about someone or an organization online.

Check for branding.
See if the same or congruent photo/ avatar/ profile picture everywhere, ie on all his or her websites. Investigate if it is 1 person, or 1 product, or 1 service everywhere to determine if it is a real person, real brand, or real organization / team.

Is it solid, or a fly by night?
Was the website slapped together hastily, or was a lot of time, attention and detail put into one or all the websites?

Is it 1 person who posts things from different sources, but it is all the same topic?
Figure out how the different sources are inter-related. Is it regurgitated because of a passionate hobby, or mission, or a information house intention?

Is it stolen copyrighted material used for selling purposes even though the videos, text, and photos don’t seem to be in alignment with one another? Matching pictures and videos are the best way to tell if it’s a real person.

If the person or team/ organization builds relationships, interacting with you in a natural, safe, slow manner, they are probably more genuine and trustworthy actions over asking for your personal information so abruptly and desperately.

Check for their associations.
If their number of friends, likes, or followers are very low, maybe people don’t trust them. They could be just starting out, but monitor their growth.

Find out their business partners so you can see if their relationships are real and what kind of people they associate with, trustworthy or not.

Some comments on their walls from other angry people telling or asking if he/ she is real or just a robot/ machine / droid.

Report for spam, abuse, block them, un-friend them, delete them, whatever you have to do to kick them out and protect yourself and others. Better safe than sorry.

Remember, trust your gut if anything feels a little off when feeling someone out online.

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