Possibly fake accounts

Yesterday and today I’ve had a bunch of my observations “faved.” They weren’t particularly remarkable but they came in clusters, all on observations of fungi. I checked the profiles and they were accounts with no observations or identifications. What’s the scam?

I wouldn’t worry about it, but if you’re concerned you can email the usernames to help@inaturalist.org and we’ll take a look.

could it be someone preparing to give a presentation and using iNaturalist for examples of something though they aren’t active on the site? Or perhaps preparing to ID and using the fave button as a bookmark (been discussed on the forum as a way some folks use the fave button)?


I remember faving a bunch of gull images as I was trying to put together a local guide for myself. The images themselves maybe were not so amazing but I was looking at head shots, wings, tails, legs etc and trying to get matching perspectives for about eight species, maybe twelve. So if one was an avid guller (is there such a thing?) I may have faved a bunch of images from one member/user. I am active so it may not have seemed to have much meaning but I could see someone using observations as a resource as @mira_l_b mentioned without being an active observer or identifier - and quite possibly for personal use as a quiescent naturalist.


Is there anything notable about the species being fav’d? Are they likely to be target of poaching or theft in any way? But I suspect it’s just legitimate “oh, this one looks cool” type fav-ing!


Were the observations identified already? I sometimes fave things just because I’m curious what the consensus is going to be if there ever is one.


I have been using “favorites” as a way to bookmark observations, particularly of interesting specimens that cannot be identified. Perhaps a “bookmark” feature would be useful?


There are a number of potential completely innocent explanations. A new account who is just playing around with features, an account created specifically to keep track of observations of a particular type, geography, etc., or maybe someone doing illustrations who wants to come back to reference images. I wouldn’t worry about it.


I often favorite fungi observations when I see a species I havent been able to ID, so if someone else ID’s it I can go back later and get an idea of what it could be to help my own ID’s


I’ve done the same, using the fav feature as a bookmark function. There’s something I saw while doing some IDing, but I have nothing to contribute, so I’d like to come back later and find out what the identification is so I can learn.


Just a side bar on the current conversation with something you may well already know. One can follow an individual observation - with this, one will get a notification if there is any activity on that observation without using a comment or adding to the identification suggestions. Plus I don’t think the follower is identified as having an association with that observation.


Looks like this was raised but didn’t go forward sadly.
I also use it for the same thing…and I agree, would be a good addition.

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Can you do this from the app as well, or just the website?

Not from what I can see, at least not what I can see in the Android app.

good to know!

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