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Fake followers: A social media hoax

Influencers, celebrities and other people with strong online followings can be, well, influential. When considering whether you want to buy something or use a service – especially when you’re buying online – you might look at a person’s or company’s social media. A bigger following might mean something to you, maybe telling you something about their legitimacy or how good their product or service is.

A company called Devumi knew that and sold fake followers to help people and organizations gain strong “followings.” The FTC has reached a settlement with Devumi for its illegal actions that deceived consumers.

So how did Devumi work? It operated several websites, including Devumi.com, TwitterBoost.co, Buyview.co, and Buyplays.co. People could go to these pages and buy fake followers, subscribers, views and likes for their social media accounts. That included accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Vine and SoundCloud.

So how can you be sure that the person or company you’re interested in has real followers? Truth is, you can’t be sure.

So, as you’re shopping online, go beyond the number of followers and likes. Check out independent reviews of the product or service. Of course, those can be faked, too, so read a bunch of reviews to see what you can figure out. Also, search onllne for the name of the product or service, plus the word “complaint.” Looking for more tips about shopping online? Check out Comparing Products Online.

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