Everyone knows what a shark is and what it can do. There are sharks on Social Media too. To quote Wikipedia, “A shark is a person who unscrupulously exploits or swindles others.” They lurk in your groups and scope out those who are new or who don’t know them and, as in my case, are the opposite sex from me. They are sweet talkers, polite and want to get to know you. No, not all people of the opposite sex are sharks. Some are nice folks who just share an interest with you or are new in town or may be someone in the military.
So how can you tell the difference between a legitimate potential friend and a potential money grabbing “shark?” You have to be careful folks, men and women!
I figured out some ways to help determine if someone really wants to be your friend or a “shark.” Here are some points to check on their profile of whatever site you are on. I am talking about Facebook because that is the media I use most. Don’t go with just one clue unless you just know this person is not legitimate.
Check out their Facebook profile. Do they have a real profile page? Are there photos of friends or family? (Sometimes they aren’t shown until you are accepted as a friend.) If they have friends, are all or most of their friends beautiful or handsome people of the same sex? Everyone should have friends from both sexes, at least one or two. Are there family pictures? This can be tricky because some “sharks” use pictures out of magazines, someone else’s profile photo or even new wallet space-savers or whatever source they may have.
Do they allow people, especially you, the one they are so interested in, to see any personal information about themselves? Interests, places lived or living? Does their page share multiple posts or just one because they just recently opened a Facebook profile? Look at the date they joined Facebook on their profile. If they just opened their profile, be wary.
Are they a “new” friend of one of your old friends? They may claim to be a friend of your old friend but are they really? I found that if you check with your old friend or their friend’s list, sometimes the “new” friend was just accepted. Your “old” friend may know nothing about their “new” friend because they are just friendly people and don’t even know them. This has happened twice or more to me. If they are a legitimate friend of a friend, ask your friend about them. They may not know them well or only for a short time. So gage your acceptance to your old friend’s knowledge, or lack thereof, about the “new” friend.
Where does this person live? If they claim to live overseas or even in the military, (there are legitimate men and women in the military, who are looking for letters from home, or who may not have many family living.) This is a tough one sometimes to decide on, because you don’t want to reject one of our soldiers. But on the other hand, you don’t want to get sucked into a vacuum of your attention, money or information. So protect yourself at all costs. But again don’t consider one strike against them as the basis of a decision.
If someone requests to be your friend, are they in one or more groups that you are in? If not, then how did they find you? Think about it. They saw your picture and thought you might be tricked or used. If they have never commented or “Liked” anything you wrote or shared, then why are they interested in you? They don’t know you!
If someone is in a group you are in and sends a friend request, go check out their profile page. I found one guy only had the page for his membership in the group, another was on Instagram with no Facebook profile. I am not sure how anyone could check on someone other than looking up their name on Facebook and see what appears. Even if the picture on the profile matches the one on their friend request, someone’s account could have been hijacked by an imposter. If there are no new recent entries, be very careful! Also I found one profile page that belonged to someone who had died and the page was not taken down! Sure enough, someone hijacked it!
I found pretty much every time the new friend request starts out with, “Hello, Beautiful,” I consider them to be fakers unless they have commented on some of my posts, blogposts, or comments and not with just a “come-on” kind of comment! Anyone, especially a young teenager could fall for this and get into potential trouble! Again, anyone especially a teenager may not judge well or really know who a new “friend” really is until they look them up and know them from school or some activity and even then, people’s pages can be hijacked!
If a potential new “friend” is from another country and gives you a sob story, no matter how destitute or desperate they are, do not respond nor send them money!! Block them!! If you think you know them, ask someone from their family, if they are legit. Or if you just feel you should help them, refer them to Red Cross or some other organization who helps those over seas.
If you are hooked by a “fake friend” and want to leave them and keep them from further comments or contact with you. All you have to do is go to their Facebook Profile. See the three dots? Click on it, At the bottom of the options see “Find Support” or “Report Profile.”
If you are approached by someone in a group, who approaches you in one of the ways mentioned above: or if they persist in contacting you; or you are not familiar with that person, report them to the administrator of the group with as much information as you can. (If you have blocked them, this will not be necessary.) But the admin may be able to take steps to stop them from hunting down someone else. Another woman and I in the same group was approached by the same guy within 24 hours of each other. This is not someone who should be allowed in a group.
To report to an admin about a problem. I am not sure that all groups use the same symbols and places to ask for help. But if you see the looking glass symbol and enter “admin.” Then you can tell the administrator of the group about the “shark.” Some pages have three dots in a gray box. You may see three options: Find Support, Report a Profile, or Block the Page/Group. Pick one but do tell the admin about the shark.
Be careful. Don’t use just one criteria listed to decide, unless you “just know” and are experienced in this dangerous “game.” Below is a post on scammers.