A web entrepreneur who had an encounter with a ‘fake’ Facebook friend has now come up with an app that will help others avoid the same pitfalls online.
This app is designed to help users to figure out whether that new person who added them on Facebook is a bot, scammer or other safety threat.
FakeOFF analyzes usage patterns and assigns each “friend” an easily intelligible 1-10 ranking for likely fraud. Users can create “suspect” lists and receive automatic notifications regarding suspicious activity. FakeOFF even scans photos to determine if they are genuine, and FakeOFF guarantees its users full privacy and control of their usage.
FakeOFF Founder Eliran Shachar came up with the idea after realizing that he himself had been the victim of fraud. “Nothing bad came out of it,” he explains, “but even just knowing that I had let this fake person into my life gave me this sense of having been violated. It opened my eyes to how easy it is to impersonate someone online, and how many different illicit uses that ability can be put toward.”
“There are any number of reasons why someone would want to create a fake profile for themselves,” explains Shachar. “Some of them are relatively harmless, but in the bad cases — whether it’s a pedophile posing as a minor, or someone looking to plant a bug and invade your computer, or a physical burglar hoping to take advantage of the next time they see you posting vacation shots — there is a very real danger that people need to be protected from. Regardless of the motive, I’m a firm believer that everyone has the right to know who it is they’re dealing with.”
Sachar added that sometimes all you need is to look into one person: a potential romantic interest, for example. And in other cases, users like concerned parents will be interested in more comprehensive coverage.