How to Avoid Getting Duped This Hot-Stove Season

Sailor, it’s the offseason. Move-making season. Get-good-players season. And you know what that means: it’s also fake account season. Rumors and news will be flying all over the place, and a lot of it will be more phony than Ellen Degeneres. The last thing anyone wants is to log on to the World Wide Web and be made to look like a fool. Be not bamboozled! Based on years of extensive research, I’ve put together a handy list for you of things to watch for to make sure YOU don’t become a pawn in some sick 14-year old’s game.

1. Is the account verified? The first big clue you need to look for when you see an announcement about a big trade or free agent signing — does the announcing account have that little blue check, or white check if you’re using the superior dark mode? This may sound simple on its face, but it’s a little tricky. There’s an emoji that looks vaguely like one of these verification checks, if you’re only glancing because you’re too excited by the words “Josh Donaldson to Seattle” to take your time. So slow down. Take your time. Find that check.

2. Is the account’s handle correct? Another thing that may seem straightforward up front, but these ne’er do wells have some pretty sneaky tricks. Did you know that a lowercase “l” looks kind of like a uppercase “I?” Very subtle. Sometimes the fake handle is a little more bold, perhaps to elicit more laughs. Please do not fall for a news-breaking account called @KenRosenthicc.

3. Why don’t you actually click on the profile? If you’ve thoroughly checked the above areas of deception and you’re STILL not sure for some weird reason, then just click on the account, won’t you? Please? Odds are extremely high that the fake Jon Heyman will have significantly less followers than the real one. Unless, of course, Chrissy Teigen is feeling particularly troll-ish one day. Barring that, this is a sure fire way to determine once and for all the reliability of the news source.

4. Check the date. There’s one other common form of player-acquisition deception. This one is a real doozy because the account sharing the news IS real, and the news itself IS real. Here’s the secret: the news is from a different day, in the past, and not the current day that’s in the present. Someone retweeted it and you didn’t check the date and now you look like a goof! Oh!! Don’t do that. Check the date.

Well friends, I hope these helpful tips do indeed prove helpful. Write them down if you have to. Tape it to your computer monitor. You must stay vigilant. Keep an eye out for nefarious hooligans with screen names like [random reliever] #1 Stan who have Pokémon profile pictures. Where they go, hijinks are sure to follow.

Keep your eyes open.

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