In the beginning when Twitter first attracted spam accounts, it was fairly easy to spot them: the teeth whiteners, the porn sites and the get rich quick schemes. But lately spammers have gotten smarter. Here we list the top 10 myths about spam accounts to make it easier for you spot them and ultimately eliminate spammers.

1. You Can Tell By Their Photo

You can never tell by their photos. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sexy picture, a playful picture, a celebrity photo, a grandmother or a photo that looks like the girl (or boy) next door; Spammers use the millions of photos available to them online on other twitter accounts, facebook pages, or even google image searches. Never follow based on a photo.

2. They Are Replying To People So They Must Be Real

The majority of spammers reply to dozens of people the moment they create the page. In most cases those replies are just random words, often they appear as broken English, but even more often they are scraped tweets that have been copied from other peoples twitter page to appear more real. Pay close attention to what people are replying to.

3. They Are Retweeting My Friends So They Must Be OK

The spam accounts of today tend to use the Twitter retweet button over and over and over again. often a quick glance at their page reveals no content at all when you eliminate all of the retweets of legitimate Twitter accounts. While some reveal a few spammy ads mixed in with legitimate retweets of good content.

4. They Have Thousands Of Followers So They Can’t Be A Spammer

Oh, but yes they can. There are still people that utilize auto-follow and basically follow any account that follows them, and since spammers have lists of these people (often high-profile users) and will start their account by following these people, they can easily and quickly assemble several thousand followers within days of setting up their account.

5. Only Real People Do #FollowFriday

That used to be the case, but very often you will receive #FollowFridays from people you don’t follow, and who do not even follow you. Programs created simply to build #FollowFriday lists can easily generate hundreds of these shout-outs. They are also easily copied and pasted from other users’ Twitter pages. But maybe the worst of these offenders are those that simply retweet #FollowFridays that list them, which in turn spams everyone’s stream and make Fridays a nearly unbearable all day spamfest on twitter.

6. They Are Just New And Don’t Know How To Tweet

Often you see people with no followers yet they keep sending out links to individuals to check out their new something (website, music video, special deal, contest, free gift, etc). But more often than not, they know exactly what they are doing, and they do it because you will fall for it.  If their Twitter page is full of the same tweet over and over again to dozens of different users, they are spamming because they know they can get away with it.

7. Spammers Don’t have Interesting Bios

Really? Spammers describe themselves as they want to be seen. Often their Twitter bios are better and more creative than yours!

8. Spammers Don’t Chat With People

Absolutely they do…sometimes real conversation, sometimes ambiguous statements, but they have become smarter, remember? These are the same people that send you DMs to retweet every post they write, or to join their facebook page, or to watch their latest video. There can even be a real person behind that spam account that likes you, but their content is driving you crazy with numerous ads, sponsored tweets, and links to spammy services that claim to make you wealthy, healthy and smarter. Never forget, Nigerian bank scammers are nice to you too!

9. My Friends Would Never Spam Me

I bet I can prove you wrong. How about your friends that retweet every shout-out sent to them? How about your friends that suddenly have their accounts hooked up to a feed of every article from twenty different news sites? How about your friends that schedule tweets around the clock from their own site? How about your friends that are so desperate for page views that they will tweet the same articles from their site over and over and over again just in case the five people in Timbuktu have not seen it yet?

And how about the people that have scheduled every quote ever spoken and keep their feeds going day and night? Or the saddest spam of all, people who retweet themselves from their dog’s account, or their business account, or any extra account they set up and asked you to follow. It’s one thing to share content on more than one account, it’s another to pretend the other account retweeted you all by itself! Think about it, your friends are spamming you and making twitter harder and harder and harder to navigate fresh and current content.

10. It’s Easy To Spot A Person Unworthy of Trust

Really? Many people have been fooled on twitter.  I personally have been lied to,  promised payments I never received, and made friends with people that have taken advantage of my kindness. Some of these people have tens of thousands of followers. I guarantee you are following many of these “nice” spammers now. You can not and will not ever be able to determine a person deserving of trust by exchanging a few words of kindness online, especially if their kind tweets are surrounded by spam or old content of any kind.

So how do you decide who to follow when everything you have been taught to look for on a twitter account is suddenly wrong again? You have to pay closer attention. You have to look at the overall user and what they have done so far.  No photo, tweet or friendship can determine a good person to follow. It’s  a unique blend of conversation, current tweet topics,  and a feeling that the person behind those tweets is a real unique individual that creates daily unique content that you are interested in following. And even then if you make a mistake and follow a spammer, unfollow as quickly as possible to bring back the good curated content to make your twitter experience better than ever!