A display picture, also commonly referred to as a profile picture or avatar, is an image that represents a user’s identity on social media channels. It is the image that appears next to a user’s name whenever they post, comment, or engage with content on the platform. It serves as a visual identifier and helps others recognise and associate content or interactions with a specific user.
Display pictures can convey personality, professionalism, interests, or branding depending on the purpose and context of the social media platform. You have to choose wisely and present yourself in a way that aligns with your goals and desired image.
You can be prone to social engineering scams via profiles with fake display pictures, so it’s highly recommended that you always research and verify the legitimacy of profiles and claims through trusted sources before taking any final decisions.
Few frauds around display picture :
- Extortion with Morphed Profile Pictures – In this scam, the scammer obtains the WhatsApp profile picture of a victim’s loved one, such as a spouse, and manipulates it to create a nude or compromising image. The scammer then sends the manipulated image to the victim, along with a threat to circulate it on social media unless a certain amount of money is paid. The victim, fearing the embarrassment and their loved one’s reputation, may feel compelled to pay the scammer to prevent the image from being shared.
- Fake Gift Vouchers from CEO Profiles – Scammers create fake WhatsApp profiles using display pictures that resemble the CEOs or higher-ranking officials of a company. They then send messages to employees, including the victim, claiming to be the CEO and offering gift vouchers, such as Apple gift vouchers, to be shared with colleagues. The victim, believing the message is legitimate and coming from their boss, may purchase the vouchers and share them with colleagues. However, the scammer disappears, and remains untraceable.
- Matrimonial Scams – Scammers use display pictures of attractive individuals on matrimonial websites to create fake profiles. They engage in conversations with potential brides or grooms, gain their trust, and later ask for money for various reasons such as travel expenses, medical emergencies, or dowry demands. The scammer disappears and untraceable after collecting the money.
- Social Media Lottery Scams – Scammers use display pictures of famous personalities or wealthy individuals to create fake profiles on social media. They claim that the victim has won a lottery or prize and ask for personal information, fees, or taxes to release the winnings. Victims end up losing money without receiving any prizes.
- Fundraising Scams – Scammers create profiles with sympathetic display pictures on crowdfunding platforms or social media. They claim to be in need of financial assistance for medical treatments, education, or social causes. However, the funds collected are never used for the stated purpose, and the scammer disappears after receiving the money.
- Investment and Ponzi Schemes – Scammers create profiles with display pictures of successful investors or financial experts to gain credibility. They approach individuals and offer investment opportunities with promises of high returns. However, the investments are either fake or part of a Ponzi scheme, and victims lose their money.
Securing Display Pictures on Social Platforms :
- Adjust Privacy Settings – Review the privacy settings and ensure that your display picture is only visible to the desired audience.
- Watermark or Overlay – Consider adding a watermark or overlay to your display picture as it makes it more difficult for someone to pass off the picture as their own.
- Avoid Using Personal Photos – Considering privacy, use a non-personal image as your display picture i.e., logo or graphic or caricature etc, that doesn’t reveal your true identity.
- Be Mindful of Content – Avoid sharing sensitive or compromising images that could harm your reputation in future.
- Regularly Monitor – Stay vigilant and periodically review your social media accounts to ensure that your display picture hasn’t been misused / cloned by scammers.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication – Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) on your social media accounts, as it restricts unauthorised access.
- Report Misuse – If you come across instances of someone using your display picture without permission, report it to the social media platform.
- Regularly Update Your DP – Consider updating your display picture regularly, it prevents scammers from using outdated images and reduces the risk of your picture being misused.
Reporting misuse of Display Picture on Social Media :
- Facebook -> Click on the three-dot menu (…) on their profile -> Find Support or Report Profile” option -> Follow the instructions to report the issue.
- Instagram -> Go to the profile of the account misusing your display picture ->Tap on the three-dot menu (…) at the top right -> Choose the “Report” option -> Follow the instructions to report the issue.
- Twitter -> Visit the profile of the account misusing your display picture -> Tap on the three-dot menu (More) located at the top right -> Select the “Report” option -> Follow the instructions to report the account.
- LinkedIn -> Go to the profile of the account misusing your display picture -> Click on the three-dot menu (More) located at the top right -> Select the “Report/Block” option -> Follow the instructions to report the account.
- WhatsApp -> Open the WhatsApp chat with the person misusing your display picture -> Tap on the three-dot menu (More options) at the top right -> Select “Report” -> Follow the instructions to report the account.