Who are you really talking to online? You may think that you are talking to the person in the image.

But beware of suspicious accounts on social media that try to build a large following and engagement through questionable means. These accounts may seem real, but are often run by bots or click farms exploiting vulnerable populations.

The goal is to get you to click shady links or divulge personal information, which can then be used for identity theft, scams, or other cybercrimes. Red flags include:

Thousands of new followers daily, many likely fake accounts

Requests to connect off-platform or share personal details

Links to inappropriate content or sketchy websites

Claims of quick money-making opportunities

The people operating these accounts may be human trafficking victims or economically exploited populations who are paid very little. Their passports are sometimes taken away in sweatshop-like conditions.

Protect yourself by being wary of accounts that seem to have inorganic growth. Do not click unknown links or share sensitive information with strangers online. Report suspicious accounts to social media platforms. Together we can stop the exploitation of vulnerable people and make the internet a safer place.