Last week's appearance in The New York Times of a "Joe Stevonson," who turned out to be someone pretending to be a young man who enjoys vaping, underscores why it's important to take steps to verify the identities of those who come our way via social media.
Here's a repeat recommendation: Check out the Verification Handbook. Edited by Craig Silverman of the Regret the Error blog, it has tips and tools for verifying "user-generated content."
Also: Don't ignore the obvious things to do, such as a simple Google search of a person's name, a visit to AnyWho.com and a request for assistance from our librarians and the social media team. They can help figure out if a person is for real.