How to spot (and avoid) fakers and fraudsters on social media

How to spot account on Instagram and Facebook, and other tips to protect yourself online. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Update: I’ve decided to re-share this post, as I’ve noticed an uptick recently in dubious social media accounts. And in the few weeks since I originally posted this, I’ve had two accounts impersonating me on Instagram, and one on Twitter (that I know of). And there was a blog that was stealing my content and reposting as their own. Fortunately all of these accounts have been removed, but it’s a pain having to deal with it. To those who spotted the imposters and alerted me, thank you!!

This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, but a couple of things I saw online and recent conversations with another blogger friend prompted me to sit down and do it.

I know you are a pretty savvy bunch. You’re online, you may use social media regularly. But the scammers and bots are getting more sophisticated and better than ever at fooling even careful users. A few months ago, a friend’s roommate (who has worked in tech for decades) had her laptop data hijacked online by a scammer posing as someone from Apple. They then demanded money in the form of a gift card as “ransom” to return her data.

Here are some of the social media fakers you might want to be on the lookout for:

The Impersonators

These are the people who set up fake accounts, try to engage, and establish online relationships. At some point, they’ll probably start asking for money.

  • A good friend of mine, an actor and good-looking man in his 50’s, is ALWAYS (and I mean almost daily) finding phony Facebook and Instagram accounts that have “lifted” his photos and are using them as their own, sometimes under versions of his name. At least one of those phony accounts has scammed at least one woman out of tens of thousands of dollars. (My friend found out when he was contacted by people investigating the case.)
  • A blogger friend of mine recently found her photos were being used on various phony social media accounts,
  • and I’ve had a couple of instances (that I know of) where someone has stolen my Instagram or Facebook images and used them to set up fake accounts on various platforms. (Apparently with the intent to establish relationships and scam for money.) All we can do is keep reporting these when we discover them.

I receive follows and/or message requests on Instagram almost daily from fake accounts posing as “honest, Simple man with loving heart.” 😂😂😂 If they bother to create a bio at all beyond “Medical Doctor” or “Military General,” that is.

On Facebook, my page tends to get followers claiming to be young men looking for relationships with older women. (Or advertising their “services,” if you get my drift. 😂 ) I assume they are scammers and block if they try to interact with me or any of my commenters.

How To Spot Fake Accounts

I’ve seen several helpful articles on how to spot and block/report fake accounts. I’ve linked to some at the bottom of this post. A few things I find are common denominators on Instagram especially:

  • A profile photo (and sometimes feed photos) that look like stock photos or commercial (i.e. “too perfect”) images.
  • They’re following a large number of people compared to how many followers they have. See image above. (And many of their followers look as suspicious as they do.)
  • A name that’s two first names: John David, George John, etc. Or a name followed by a long string of numbers: Dennis56849
  • A name in the bio that seems completely different than the account name.
  • No bio, or a bio that seems to have been translated from another language or is some variation of a badly-written dating profile.
  • Posts that are mostly “romantic” in nature (hearts and flowers), pictures of the guy with a kid (they’re often posing as “single dads”), memes, quotes (again see above), or random cute animals.
  • All or almost all of the posts in their feed have been posted within a short time frame.
  • Anyone you don’t know who tries to send a direct message, often just “hi,” “hello dear,” “hi beautiful,” or some smarmy pickup line, or product pitch (cough*bitcoin*cough), or a link or image.

If you think someone is impersonating someone you know on Instagram, you’ll need to let the “real” person know. Unless they’re a celebrity, they’ll usually have to report the imposter themselves.

And other fake Instagram accounts are set up as “followers” that can be purchased by brands or influencers to give them the appearance of more, well…influence. (I’ve never done this, and and am happy to see both the industry and users are getting wise to it.)

The Pot Stirrers

Sometimes fake accounts are people or bots (automated accounts that are programmed to simulate human conversation) that are deployed to amplify other users, websites or viewpoints. Or just to stir things up and create confusion and conflict. This article offers a great explanation of how and why they do it. And how to avoid unwittingly helping them.

Between Covid, the current BLM protests, and this being an election year in the U.S., I think we can expect to see a lot more of this kind of activity. Maybe it goes without saying, but be wary of taking accounts or sources you aren’t familiar with at face value. And even some you are familiar with. A pause and a little due diligence can help prevent spreading misinformation.

Tips To Protect Yourself Online

Here are a few practices I’ve adopted, and if you have any to add, please share them in comments.

  • Instagram: Don’t automatically follow accounts that follow you. Check their “credentials” (profile) and block any suspicious ones.
  • Facebook: Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know, especially if you have no mutual friends. If there are mutual friends, you might want to check with one or two of them first to see how they know the person.
  • Facebook: If you get a friend request from someone you believe you are already friends with, check with them first (preferably in a different platform) before accepting the request. Often this means their account has been hacked, or someone is impersonating them to try to get access to your information.
  • Facebook: don’t take quizzes (i.e. “Which Celebrity Do You Most Look Like?”). They are often a way to get access to your information to use for marketing or other more nefarious purposes.
  • Email: never click on links within emails that appear to be from your bank, Paypal, etc. Some phishing operations are able to make emails look perfectly legit. (You can hover your cursor over the sender to see the actual address the email was sent from.) If you believe something may need your attention, enter the website address of the company or financial institution in a fresh browser window and log in from there.
  • If you set up Zoom meetings, be sure to use security and passwords for all participants. (See article linked below.)

More resources:

How To Identify Fake Facebook Accounts

6 Red Flags Of Fake Instagram Accounts

How To Stop Spreading Misinformation

5 Ways to Protect Your Zoom Meetings

How To Report A Fake Facebook Account

What To Do If Someone Is Impersonating You On Instagram

How To Report A Post or Profile on Instagram

Protecting Yourself From Online Phishing Scams

Thanks for reading!

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for See my complete disclosure policy here.


  1. June 10, 2020 / 4:20 am

    Very useful , thank you . Also you can cut down on the no. of social media platforms you use – altho’ not everyone wants to do this !

  2. Georgia
    June 10, 2020 / 4:23 am

    Thanks for doing a terrific job alerting your readers. Another scam is using something like genealogy research to reach out to an individual, then establishing a friendly (and helpful) “relationship”. All of a sudden some financial hardship and a promise to pay. Then POOF! Gone with the wind. I still feel stupid for having fallen for that.

    • Leslie
      June 10, 2020 / 7:35 am

      Thank you for mentioning this Georgia. When we were visiting my son and daughter-in-law this Christmas they were talking about someone contacting them saying they had a common ancestor between my mother and my daughter-in-law. We were commenting on the weirdness of that, but now I wonder if they were trying to set up a scam. I’ll have to ask them about it.

      And I’ll echo what others have said below–check your browser settings and you might be able to eliminate a lot of ads. I’m using Firefox with a pop-up blocker, and I thought the ads hadn’t started on the blog yet. I had to scroll back and find the 3 that were there they were so subtle.

    • Jane
      June 10, 2020 / 6:01 pm

      My sister was contacted by her brother. Our brother really. My first thought was impossible. Second he is barking up the wrong tree if he is looking for money. Long story short – our mom gave him up for adoption when she was very young. He had been looking for us for years. We like him a lot and his story had a happy ending. That doesn’t happen too often. I’m glad he found us.

  3. June 10, 2020 / 4:52 am

    I LOVE this post! Thank you for sharing! As a longtime reader, I must say the new ads are sadly distracting and undermine the quality and class of your site.

  4. Kathy
    June 10, 2020 / 5:25 am

    Excellent info and resources! Thanks for sharing these and reminding us of all the crab out there!

  5. Marilyn
    June 10, 2020 / 5:44 am

    Oh my gosh, I thought you meant there would be a couple static ads on your page. But apparently not. I’ve got ad boxes interrupting every paragraph, images flashing at me, a scroll along the bottom of my page, and roll-and-replace messages. It feels like Times Square on my tablet. I have followed and loved your blog for years but am unable to tolerate reading it in this format. I do understand your need to generate income, and I hope you will be able to find a less intrusive way of incorporating the advertising you need to bring in.

    • Susan Blakey
      June 10, 2020 / 6:47 am

      Hi Marilyn, thanks for the feedback. After an initial test cycle, I’ll be able to reduce the number of ads in a few weeks. You can always close the ad at the bottom of the screen by clicking the X.

      • Marilyn
        June 10, 2020 / 9:11 am

        Thanks for replying, Susan. I’ll hang in here until you figure this out. Just for your information in your evaluation, I‘ll give you my experience. I am using Safari on an ipad, and here is the list of ads that are on your post today: a lawyer, Talbot’s (twice and flashing, changing), dental implants (2 ads), Nora Cora (4 ads and changing), Univ. of VT (twice), a multiple links ad (hair loss, spy apps, etc.), Taryn Rose shoes, a pizza oven, LG, Cole Haan, and the changing scroll across the bottom (Motley Fool, etc.). As you can probably imagine, it’s hard to find your content amongst all this. And this is with my ad blocker turned ON—-I can’t imagine what it would be like with it turned off. I hope this is helpful. Best of luck working out the right solution for you. I really do enjoy and appreciate your posts.

        • Cathy
          June 10, 2020 / 9:16 am

          As I noted above, I am seeing only two ads, and I don’t have an ad blocker.

          • Marilyn
            June 10, 2020 / 9:28 am

            Isn’t this strange Cathy? Do you know anything about the ad algorithms? Are you using Safari? What you describe seeing is kind of what I was expecting to see. And it’s so odd that my ad blocker seems to do nothing here (although it works on other sites where allowed). I’m rooting for Susan to figure this out.

          • Lea
            June 10, 2020 / 9:53 am

            Cathy, same here. I think there were 3. Very subtle. Isn’t that interesting, though?

  6. Meg
    June 10, 2020 / 5:48 am

    I had a friend request just last week from a “Military Man” with two first names , HAHAHA. He was unbelievably handsome ( ok, suspicious right there. My friends are all normal looking people) and we had NO friends in common. I deleted his request and reported it as spam. I never accept a friend request from someone I do not know. And people think this is very paranoid of me, but I never facebook from my phone. Only at home on my own wifi with my computer.

    Your advice regarding the bots that stir up controversy? Perfect timing. I see many well meaning friends displaying outrage at some injustice that just can’t be verified.

  7. Kim Robinson
    June 10, 2020 / 5:52 am

    I had to shut down by Instagram account after it was repeatedly hijacked by someone in Russia. Just try to get through to Instagram. Then my email account which I changed to a stronger password.

  8. June 10, 2020 / 5:56 am

    Thanks for the information. We cannot be too careful. Have a nice day in beautiful Southern Cali.

  9. Jelica K Greenwood
    June 10, 2020 / 6:09 am

    Hi Susan, thanks for sharing all this information. It comes at an interesting time. Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a lot of men trying to connect with me on instagram. Like many of your readers, I too delete them as I have no idea who these people are. Your article and information is well done with a lot of resources I will be reading.

  10. T.
    June 10, 2020 / 6:51 am

    I’m not seeing any ads at all. I’m using Chrome with a pop-up blocker.

    • Deborah
      June 12, 2020 / 2:03 pm

      The same here. I’m using Chrome on my desktop with an ad blocker, and I don’t see a single ad.

  11. Sally
    June 10, 2020 / 6:57 am

    I agree with many commenters here: this post had useful, timely information; and the ads are distracting, inconsistent with the usual informative, refined, often humorous tone of your blog. I wish you could find another way to generate income here.

  12. June 10, 2020 / 7:04 am

    I have an ad blocker so did not see any ads . Sometimes I see a few and sometimes it interferes with links but I then just disable it temporarily .

  13. Wren
    June 10, 2020 / 7:07 am

    Your last 2 posts have been very enlightening.
    Some time ago, I tried to get off Facebook because I didn’t like what it was allowing before the last election. Just try to get off! I think the best I could do was “suspend” or some such term but all of my posts leading up to that time are still there. Each year at my birthday, I get emails from friends who I wouldn’t expect to hear from so apparently Facebook is still giving alerts to that date.

  14. Betsy
    June 10, 2020 / 7:40 am

    I deactivated my Facebook account, which I had used mainly to see my daughters-in-law’s posts. People seem to feel free to say things on Facebook that they wouldn’t say in person. Sooner or later, someone will call you out out for something you posted or as I heard lately, for NOT posting a politically correct message. To me, it’s scary and dangerous. I don’t need the aggravation.

  15. Nancy MK
    June 10, 2020 / 7:42 am

    Susan, I do so enjoy your blog, although our tastes are very different. The ads, however, make reading it uncomfortable and not so easy to distinguish them from what you suggest.

    I do not click on ads, however attractive, on any site and do not do soical media at all. Of course that would not be possible for many but suits me.

    When I read your blog this morning, tjere was an ad for an address-finding service. This ad does not seem to be here now. I used the service last year or the year before (did not click on an ad but found the site on a search), then my credit card was charged for a subscription to it. Thanks to the New York Attorney General’s office and my credit card company, the charge was removed. I would not trust this service.

  16. SPD
    June 10, 2020 / 7:45 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. We can’t be too careful and it’s always so helpful to know what to do on a regular basis to keep safer. It should be just a routine part of taking care of our digital life. x

  17. Diane B
    June 10, 2020 / 7:55 am

    Thank you so much for all the information you shared this morning. My husband thinks I am a bit too paranoid but I prefer to be careful. We tried to get off facebook when it was constant with requests we did not know, but still not able to completely get free. When I heard that people much more savvy than myself cover their webcam when not using it, I did not feel so silly. As for the ads, the one at the bottom is easy to get rid of and the rest I can handle for now. Not worrisome enough to leave you for sure.

  18. Diana
    June 10, 2020 / 7:55 am

    Thank you so much for today’s post! Very enlightening.
    Also, you seem to have really found your “groove “ with your new colors. Love all your recent posts!
    I always liked how you looked before, but you are even more beautiful now.

  19. Jennifer Connolly
    June 10, 2020 / 8:06 am

    Ads can be a distraction but I’d never allow them to stop me from enjoying great content!
    There are ads on the radio, television and magazines. I’ve learned to ignore them.

    • Susan Blakey
      June 10, 2020 / 12:03 pm

      Yes, I’m taking steps to block those types of ads.

    • Linda
      July 23, 2020 / 8:09 am

      Jennifer, I feel exactly the same way. I am able to ignore the ads while focusing on what I actually want to see and read. Maybe it’s how we are wired.

  20. Jill Ann
    June 10, 2020 / 8:29 am

    Just my $.02 worth: I’m reading this on my iPad, and saw two static ads on the right hand column, plus the banner across the bottom. Like most people, I don’t like the ads (while understanding why you’re doing them), but didn’t find them too bothersome. I don’t know enough to say why other readers are seeing so many more ads, am sure others more tech-smart can explain that. The other thing that seems new is the section in the middle with what appears to be links to other blogs. I assume these are blogs you’ve vetted?

    I appreciate your blog; I’m sure it won’t take long for you to get the ad thing worked out.

    • Susan Blakey
      June 10, 2020 / 8:38 am

      Yes, I’ve reviewed the blogs that will appear in that widget. Some of the content may differ from mine, but there should be nothing offensive there. If you are seeing something you find offensive, please let me know and I’ll address it.

  21. Wendy
    June 10, 2020 / 8:53 am

    Great information. Truly love your blog, your images and your writing. Read every day and have for years. I also completely understand the need to monetize your hard work the best way possible under difficult circumstances. Nonetheless, I have to join the others in saying that these ads are really intrusive. Indeed, they are everywhere and in constant movement. Not only do they destroy the elegant design of the website, but their pop up nature even slows the ability to write comments. I’ll use an Ad blocker and hope that once you have more control things will calm down. I’d consider a subscription.

  22. Rondi
    June 10, 2020 / 8:58 am

    I don’t do Facebook or other social media except what I have to do for work. I do enjoy Pinterest and reading Susan’s blog. I see too many people looking at their phones instead of enjoying the real life going on all around them. Just thinking about all these creeps trying to cause harm through the internet is upsetting. I don’t think anyone likes ads but let’s give Susan a little time to work it out.

  23. Sharon G
    June 10, 2020 / 9:06 am

    Reading today’s post about fake accounts validated my recent reaction to recent follows on my IG account. As the Covid-19 quarantine progressed, I noticed a huge increase in the number of follows from accounts set up as you described. The one other trait that I don’t think you mentioned is that many accounts were private, requiring a request to follow in return. I’m cynical by nature so I blocked them all. It didn’t occur to me to report them as spam—quarantine brain, I think—but now I will
    As for your ads, a bit annoying. Another blogger I follow offers readers a choice : free with ads or no ads with a subscription fee.

    • Susan Blakey
      June 10, 2020 / 9:07 am

      That’s another option I’m looking into, thanks.

  24. Ann
    June 10, 2020 / 9:09 am

    I too am as careful as I can be with my email and social media. This is a great post with a great reminder. I also read your post last week about trying ads and why you are doing it. I appreciate your blog and we are all trying to make a living. I can see that you do a lot of work to give us good information. I support you in that and ignore the ads.

  25. DEBBIE
    June 10, 2020 / 9:11 am

    This happened to me on Instagram two years ago…I felt SO FOOLISH . Now I delete any request unless I know the person. I HAVE STARTED GETTING THEM EVERY DAY AS WELL….THEY ARE RAMPING UP THEIR EFFORTS THESE DAYS!

  26. Cathy
    June 10, 2020 / 9:14 am

    Weird, I don’t see any of what you describe, only one Verizon ad and a small prescription drug ad over to the side.

  27. Eugenia Ayers
    June 10, 2020 / 9:35 am

    In follow up to my earlier post. I checked back to see replies and comments but this time on my desk top computer with ad blocker and no ads! Yay!

  28. Lea
    June 10, 2020 / 9:50 am

    Not what I got. Barely noticed the three that were there.

  29. Donna
    June 10, 2020 / 10:35 am

    Thank you so much for this helpful article. My question is there is so many sites that pop up selling the cutest clothes and I have never heard of them. I have seen one pop up here by the name of Noracora. Just love the clothes and shoes hey advertise. How do you tell if they are legitimate and it’s ok to order from them?

    • Susan Blakey
      June 10, 2020 / 10:38 am

      Hi Donna, before I order from any new website, I do an online search to read reviews or reports about them, and also carefully read their shipping, return and refund policies. In general, if you see prices that look too good to be true, they probably are.

      And over time, any ads you see should become more relevant to my content and reader interests.

    • Susan Blakey
      June 11, 2020 / 5:28 pm

      Thanks for the information. That’s why I always suggest doing a search on any brand that you have not done business with before. Unfortunately, the way ad platforms work, we all don’t see the same ads, and I’m not able to see the ads that may appear for you. The ads you see are based on your own browsing history, location, etc. This is true of ads currently on most blogs and websites. I’ve done my best to limit what appears, and will continue to make adjustments. But if you see an ad that you believe is “spammy” you can click on the “report this ad” button at the bottom right corner, and I encourage you to do so. It helps both of us.

  30. Cehryl
    June 10, 2020 / 11:15 am

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for this timely information.
    I recently had some issues with my Amazon account, which they solved. (Yay!). But, in the meantime got an email from Microsoft about my google account….without even thinking, clicked on the link. Then realized …
    oh, $#it! Immediately cleared the cache and cookies and shut off my iPad.
    Haven’t had a problem, yet…still keeping fingers crossed. I’m a fairly tech-savvy person, if I can goof, anyone can.
    Thanks for this info. I love your blog….we are totally different body types. I’m dark/gray haired and big-boned…Fluffy…you’re a petite, toned blond. But, I love your style and I’ve been trying to translate it for my own look. Thank you. Keep up the terrific work. ❤️

  31. RoseAg
    June 10, 2020 / 11:44 am

    With regard to people you think you’re already friends with – there is something about the mothers’ of friends, who’re also my friends that seems to attract hacking.
    If I’m a friend of yours, and your mother – which means you are probably a friend from high school- I never respond to suspicious friend requests. I know some of them forget their passwords and have to start over again, but that particular group of people seems prone to fraudent activity.

  32. Terry
    June 10, 2020 / 11:57 am

    Well, according to your checkpoints, I am a bot. ☹️ I understand people have to be careful on line, and being careful is why I look like a bot. I use VisageTome for groups (including yours) and some of these are political. I don’t use it to keep in touch with real life friends and family. As a result, I only have a handful of on line “friends” that I’ve been interacting with for years. I use two first names because someone with control over my family’s livelihood said he wouldn’t do business with anyone who doesn’t share his politics. I don’t put personal photos on the Internet, so my profile pic is a landscape picture. I follow a lot of people on the picture site for their stories but am not followed by many because I don’t post pictures. I just wanted people to know that there are sometimes good reasons for doing those things.‍♀️

    • Susan Blakey
      June 10, 2020 / 12:59 pm

      Understood. Again, I think it’s just about being more aware and cautious in general.

      • Sierra Delta
        June 10, 2020 / 8:19 pm

        I post almost nothing personally identifiable on FB and have my account set to Private. I have a landscape picture I took in Hawai’i as my avatar, and I don’t use my real name. I’m over 65, but I’ve had a stalker since shortly after I graduated from college. We dated only a handful of times, but there was something a little off about him, so I ended it. I’ve been married for over 40 years, and we have two grown children. We’ve moved 12 times and lived in three different states, but this . . . person . . . has managed to find me almost every time. He’s even contacted my children, who live in different states, trying to find me. I’ve never known how he learned my married name to be able to connect my children to me. The police have never been able to help because he hasn’t done anything illegal. Most likely he isn’t dangerous, just fixated, but it’s very unsettling. I admire you all who share snapshots of your lives, but I’m afraid to. We have grandchildren now, and I don’t want them on his radar. Like Terry, I’m also a real person, but my FB profile probably would make you wonder. Be safe, y’all, and merci beaucoup, Susan, for looking out for us.

        • Janet D.
          June 10, 2020 / 9:11 pm

          How frightening! And I’m sorry now for joking (in a comment below) about my husband being “stalked” on FB by women he went to school with 40 years ago & doesn’t even remember now — he wasn’t actually being “stalked” at all, & I should have been more thoughtful with my comment because it’s not even remotely funny when it’s real.

          • Sierra Delta
            June 11, 2020 / 1:27 am

            No worries, Janet! I told my grandchild this morning that I have a “black thumb.” When my brain heard what my mouth had said, it threatened to stencil THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK across my forehead. . .

        • Susan Blakey
          June 11, 2020 / 6:25 am

          Oh, I’m so sorry to hear this, how awful for you! I think our legal system does not take stalking seriously enough, and that the laws need to change.

        • "Fake Account"
          July 24, 2020 / 6:37 am

          Good lord, Sierra Delta, you just showed me my future.
          When I told my employer’s security chief, a retired police captain, about a recent incident, he urged me to get a restraining order. We discussed this, & I told him I hoped the guy would just get married & move on with his life. His reply: “In my experience, even when they do get married, they don’t ever stop. They don’t move on.”
          It’s miserable.

    • "Fake Account"
      July 24, 2020 / 6:30 am

      I’m also either a bot, troll, or “fake” according to these definitions. I don’t post pics of myself & do not give *any* bio or personal info. I have an account on a platform to follow health & political news.
      I prefer to remain private online; I’ve had a psychotic stalker for 7 long years & this has taught me well.
      The expectation for everyone to be an open book online (or risk being accused of bottiness) is bizarre–& dangerous.

      • Susan Blakey
        July 24, 2020 / 6:38 am

        Hi FA, it’s not an either/or situation, and there’s no need for anyone to feel defensive about their choices, especially for self-protection. I don’t disclose certain things online either, even though my livelihood is online. All I’m suggesting is that people be aware and maintain some healthy skepticism.

  33. Janet D.
    June 10, 2020 / 4:18 pm

    Excellent article, Susan, & as you say, with all that’s going on these days, including that US election, the Crazies are going to be out full-force, especially on FB & Twitter. My solution? I don’t do social media of any kind, period. Not every one wants to opt out (& some can’t because of work) but I find I don’t miss a single thing for not being “plugged in”. It takes a bit more work to stay connected without FB or Twitter or IG, but I figure if someone isn’t worth that extra effort, I’m probably not that interested in staying in touch with them anyway. My husband opened a FB account last year for his new business but after months of almost daily friend requests from people he barely knew in high school & college & didn’t find that interesting then — including a lot of women who apparently don’t have anything better to do than stalk guys they went to school with 40 years ago — he deleted it again 🙂 But your tips are good ones, nevertheless.

    Re the ads: I run AdBlock Plus & don’t see a single one, which I realize isn’t helping you at all. I’ll fiddle with the settings to let at least some through.

  34. Susan Blakey
    June 10, 2020 / 4:23 pm

    Can you tell me whether you’re reading on mobile or laptop? There will be some ads, but my goal is to have them be relevant and not intrusive. It may take some time to adjust and fine tune to achieve that.

    • Susan
      June 10, 2020 / 5:29 pm

      Thanks for your reply. I’m on an iPhone today. This post featured seven ads in total. With two in particular being repeated several times. I did have ad block but maybe I disabled it. I’ll reinstall. Yours is one of only a few accounts I’ve remained subscribed to. Culling the wardrobe in the pandemic lead onto culling my subscriptions!

      • Susan Blakey
        June 10, 2020 / 5:31 pm


        • Susan Blakey
          June 10, 2020 / 5:51 pm

          I haven’t seen more than 4 placements per post, but I’ve passed this along to my support team to investigate. Thanks.

  35. Jane
    June 10, 2020 / 6:06 pm

    My sister was contacted by her brother. Our brother really. My first thought was impossible. Second he is barking up the wrong tree if he is looking for money. Long story short – our mom gave him up for adoption when she was very young. He had been looking for us for years. We like him a lot and his story had a happy ending. That doesn’t happen too often. I’m glad he found us.

    A friend received a friend request from a good looking doctor. His page looked fake to me and I warned her. She laughed – she said she thought it was fake and her husband wouldn’t approve anyway.

  36. June 10, 2020 / 6:57 pm

    Oh my goodness. I get these ALL of the time! Sometimes even using the names and photos from accounts of people you know. I recently had someone message me who’d made a false account in the name of my stepson in England…same profile photo, same photos from his profile…except they had the middle initial wrong. That and direct messages, usually wanting to engage in such an inappropriate way. Great topic to bring up, Susan. A lot of people just don’t know.

  37. Susan D.
    June 11, 2020 / 4:26 am

    The most amusing ad I saw on your blog today was asking if I had a “death clock”. I can’t imagine which category that ad fit into. I can’t imagine that this was what you had in mind. I’m sure it will all work out. The other ads for are car products.

    • Susan Blakey
      June 11, 2020 / 6:46 am

      Oh dear…I’ve been told that as the ad program “learns” my content and readers’ preferences, the ads will become more relevant. And I’m continuing to monitor what I see (everyone will see different ads) to be sure nothing weird is getting through. But if you ever see anything that’s offensive, you can click on “Report this ad” on the bottom right hand corner of the ad.

  38. June 11, 2020 / 1:22 pm

    Your blog has only 3 adds on the side and the one at the bottom which is easily removed by clicking on the X. I can live with 3 or 4 adds on the side as they do not interfere with reading the content. It’s very interesting how everyone seems to have a different experience. As of now, I have no intention to quit following. Keep up the wonderful posts, Susan.

    • Susan D.
      June 11, 2020 / 3:54 pm

      I saw two ads at the bottom, two at the side and two to three throughout the body of the post. I am so curious as to the different experiences of each reader.

      • Susan Blakey
        June 11, 2020 / 3:55 pm

        I can’t explain that but will ask.

  39. Jan Whichard
    June 12, 2020 / 1:12 pm

    Robust discussion!!! OK….I am on both my iPad and my MAC. On the MAC is one add block on the right hand side…Zappos and it’s flashing away. Now Shopstyle I don’t care. OH>>>>wait…there’s a Mediavine ad for work tools and now one for Neurtagena… it goes! In fact, they are all Mediavine. Annoying and they take up too much space but still I don’t care…for now.

    On my iPad I see an ad block at the bottom which I closed. It has stayed closed for the time I was on the site.

    I have zero idea what your overhead is for writing the blog and sort of thought you received monies through your readers using your links to buy stuff. My 2 cents is that the ads on your site cheapen the look and feel of it and you lose some of the quiet elegance of the site and its message. If there were some other way to monetize this I would dump the ads.

  40. June 12, 2020 / 8:16 pm

    Lively chat! Great post. It’s so informative. I’m going to file it and hope I don’t run into anything that makes me want to review it!! Thank you so much.
    About the ads. I only saw 3, with no pop-up, within the body of the post. I’m on a Mac. The bottom banner ad stayed off after I clicked it.
    I’m not a fan of ads, but I’m also not convinced about charging for content. I know it’s popping up. I follow two blogs that recently began charging.
    Your blog is excellent. I’m sure you’ll work out the ads.

  41. June 13, 2020 / 9:43 am

    I so hear you and totally agree. Thanks for your clear explanations. I will come back to read about the bots. Your practises are mine as well. Some I have adopted only after being ‘burned’.

  42. Susan
    June 14, 2020 / 10:45 am

    I love that you put this information all in one place. Thank you, very informative!

  43. Bea
    June 15, 2020 / 8:06 pm

    Thank you for the timely info. Side note- I did not notice any ads

  44. Susan
    July 23, 2020 / 5:55 am

    I wonder if the number of ads is determined by what device is used. My feed on Instagram is inundated with ads on my iPhone, but there are none on my laptop. I only read your blog on my computer, where I have an ad blocker, so I haven’t seen any ads

  45. Bette
    July 23, 2020 / 6:24 am

    Thanks for re-posting this piece. Perhaps another post-pandemic change we’ll all consider making is to reduce or eliminate our use of social media. I recently quit FB and IG, and while I missed seeing a few folks, the reality is, a blog post or a personal email is far more satisfying and real to me, anyway.

  46. Wren
    July 23, 2020 / 7:38 am

    Thank you for rerunning this post. I had a notice last week that someone whose name I didn’t recognize was following me on Goodreads. Since I rarely use that app, follow no one and have never written anything on it , I was curious. There was a picture of this bodacious babe with her breasts tumbling out of her blouse…..on a site used by readers! I quickly blocked the name so “she” couldn’t couldn’t follow me. Weird and creepy.

  47. Lagatta de Montréal
    July 24, 2020 / 3:46 pm

    Hello Susan,

    I haven’t had many problems with your site, but there is the constant meme of horribly baggy, oversized clothing that flatters nobody.

  48. Anon
    August 2, 2020 / 9:22 am

    There is a style blogger in my country who lifts photos without crediting them. Photos that are on other people’s websites, taken by them, belong to them. Give credit where credit is due, and best of all, ask permission. It’s very easy to do a Google image search, so I don’t know why these people think they won’t be caught. What an incredible sense of entitlement. I’m pretty sure this one is a case of pure narcissism rather than an intent to scam, but still.

    You’re on there, too, by way of a couple of links. What I have a problem with is outright use of copyright images sans permission.

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