A difficult question indeed. There is no such thing as a completely fake programmer. Anybody who took a programming course in high school can write a “Hello World !”, or a bubble sort and s/he is a programmer. However being a professional programmer requires more. There are some indicators of a programmer who is at “Hello world!” level but claiming to be a professional programmer:
- They are laud about their success
- They talk about algorithms, not implementation.
- They love buzzwords. These days especially full stack development and non-relational databases are in fashion.
- They can reply quickly if you ask about their best program and its performance.