The Dangers of Buying Fake Followers: A Comprehensive Guide

Purchasing fake followers has become a common practice among social media users, especially among influencers and businesses looking to boost their online presence. But while buying fake followers may seem like an easy and quick way to increase your numbers and boost your credibility, it can actually have serious negative consequences.

The Dangers of Buying Fake Followers  A Comprehensive Guide

What are fake followers?

Fake followers, also known as "bots" or "fakes," are fake accounts that are created and controlled by automated software rather than real people. They are often used to inflate the number of followers on a social media account, and they can be purchased from a variety of online sources.

Why do people buy fake followers?

There are a few reasons why someone might consider buying fake followers. Some people may think that having a large number of followers will increase their credibility and make them more attractive to potential customers or sponsors. Others may believe that having a large number of followers will help them get more attention and engagement on their posts.

However, buying fake followers is not a legitimate way to grow your social media presence, and it can actually be damaging to your reputation.

The dangers of buying fake followers

It's dishonest: Buying fake followers goes against the principles of honesty and authenticity that are important in social media. It's important to be transparent with your audience and to represent yourself accurately. When you buy fake followers, you're not being genuine, and that can erode trust with your audience.

It can harm your engagement: Even if you do manage to increase your followers with fake accounts, your engagement is likely to suffer. Fake followers are not real people, and they are not going to like, comment, or share your posts. As a result, your engagement may actually decrease, which can hurt your visibility and reach on social media.

It can damage your reputation: When people discover that you have fake followers, it can damage your reputation and credibility. Companies and organizations are often hesitant to work with influencers who have fake followers, as they may view them as untrustworthy.

It can get you in trouble: Some social media platforms have strict policies against buying fake followers, and they may take action if they discover that you have done so. This can include removing fake followers, suspending your account, or even banning you from the platform altogether.

It's a waste of money: Finally, buying fake followers is a waste of money. You may be able to purchase a large number of followers for a relatively low price, but those followers are not going to be real people who are interested in your content. As a result, you're not going to see any real value or return on your investment.

How to avoid fake followers

In a New York Times article entitled it stated: “Celebrities, athletes, pundits and politicians have millions of fake followers. So if you're serious about building a genuine and authentic social media presence, it's important to avoid buying fake followers. Here are a few tips for avoiding fake followers:

1. Use social media analytics tools: There are a variety of tools that can help you identify fake followers on your account. These tools can provide data on things like the number of followers you have, the engagement on your posts, and the quality of your followers. By using these tools, you can get a better understanding of your real audience and identify any fake followers that may be inflating your numbers. Moonio for example is a tool that doesn't just do a fake follower check, but a double check with AI and a human team of experts.

2. Be cautious of suspicious offers: If someone offers you a large number of followers for a very low price, it's likely that they are selling fake followers. Be cautious of these offers and do your research before making any decisions.

3. Look for strange ratios: When checking an influencer's account you should look at the followers/followed ratio. Fake accounts often have very unusual ratios. Does the account follow a large number of people but have few followers? Turn on that red flag.

4. Check the number of followers: Most of the time, influencers gain followers slowly and steadily over a long period of time. They may even lose a few followers from time to time. If an influencer posts content that goes viral, followers are more than assured to grow. The only thing to watch out for are accounts that go from having a couple hundred followers to thousands of followers overnight.

Bottom line

To conclude, I think it goes without saying that influencer marketing can be a powerful tool to promote your brand and reach a wider audience. However, it is important to be aware of the pitfalls that can arise, including fake followers and influencer mismanagement. To avoid these problems and maximize the impact of your influencer collaborations, proactively check for fake followers and follow best practices for influencer management, including setting clear objectives, researching influencers, creating a compelling proposal, negotiating terms, establishing a following, providing support and resources, and following up after the collaboration ends.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

The Dangers of Buying Fake Followers: A Comprehensive Guide