Are you legit? Smartphone app helps users check people met online

There are an estimated 220 million fake people on Facebook. So how can you tell who’s who? Fake identities are the third most common complaint, according to the Federal Trade Commission, so we tried a free app, Legitifi, that tries to find out if the person you’re about to hire or date is who he says he is. It’s touted for checking out baby sitters, dates, handymen, caregivers, and could be used even for ride services and airline passengers. Legitifi’s identity-checking algorithm does some obvious things, like checking whether the same person posts under more than one name on Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites. The only dating site they check is Tinder.com. If a social media profile is too new, that also raises a flag. There’s a big catch to all this: The person you want to check has to agree to install Legitifi first. We suppose it’s a red flag if the person refuses to install the app, but it could also be embarrassing to ask new friends and neighbors to be Legitified. Once they’ve installed the app, they can have others vouch for them. You’ll see a list of “vouchers” off to one side. We immediately wondered if […]

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