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Spotting and Avoiding Instagram Scams: A Complete Guide

Spot Instagram Scams

Instagram is beloved by over 1 billion people for sharing visual moments. But where there’s fun, there are also scammers looking to scam. From phishing messages to fake influencers, you really need to watch your back. 

Don’t let the scammers steal your money or your precious meme collection! Here’s how to spot sneaky Instagram schemes and stay one step ahead.

The Most Common Instagram Scams

Phishing 

Getting a DM from “Instagram Support” saying your account’s about to go kaput? Don’t take the bait! Real Instagram’s not going to ask for your password or make you click shady links. 

Instagram’s official email address is: [email protected]. So you’ll know, if you get an email from that address, it is legit. 

Fake influencers 

If you see an influencer pushing sketch products or services, chances are they are fake. These smooth operators will pump up their follower counts with bots and bought likes to raise their status. 

But beware of getting involved with someone you have not vetted. Partnering with them could drain your budget and leave your brand’s trust tank on E. 

The good news is that spotting these imposters is doable with a keen eye on engagement rates, a Sherlock Holmes dives into their follower quality, and a little help from savvy tools like Influencity. This platform sifts through the fakes to find the real deal by analyzing engagement, spotting bot-like behavior, and separating the genuine from the ghost followers. 

Ensure authenticity by looking for the blue checkmark badge, indicating the account’s verified status as a genuine user, artist, organization, or brand.

Rigged giveaways 

If someone slides into your DMs saying you won some sweepstakes you never entered, 

it’s a scam. Genuine sweepstakes won’t ask for money or personal info upfront. Stay cautious and protect your details.

Voting fraud

There’s a sneaky scam sliding into Instagram DMs, tricking people into voting for fake contests or job ads. These scammy messages ask you to share a dodgy link that could hijack your Instagram profile. 

Best to remain alert to these messages, and if you’ve clicked, change your password ASAP. 

Pro tip: turn on two-factor authentication to keep your digital life locked down tight against these bad actors.

Job offers 

During COVID, lowlife scammers preyed on those needing jobs or money. Messages offered fake opportunities, asking for banking info to snatch your money and identity. You should absolutely never give your financial deets for an Insta job offer! If it seems too good to be true, it is. 

Crypto is a risky business

Be wary of unsolicited messages promising astronomical returns on crypto investments. These scammers entice you with promises of high earnings in exchange for payment or access to your digital wallet, only to vanish with your funds. Exercise due diligence and thoroughly investigate any crypto investment opportunities before committing your resources.

Beware of music promotion scams

Music promotion scams 

Beware of music promotion scams targeting artists on Instagram. These schemes typically involve messages from fraudulent accounts promising to boost your music’s visibility in exchange for payment. 

These scammers might claim they can significantly increase your streams, but often, the impressive follower counts and engagement they boast come from bots, not genuine fans. This means your music won’t actually reach new, real listeners on streaming services.

Romance scams 

If someone you’ve connected with online suddenly asks for money or gifts, be cautious—you’ve probably been catfished. It’s important not to send money or gifts to someone you’ve only interacted with on Instagram and have never met in person, regardless of the duration or depth of your conversations.

Sponsorship scams 

Watch out for fake sponsorship or ambassador scams on Instagram, where scammers impersonate reputable brands. These scams typically involve direct messages offering payment for ads, requests for personal details, or chances to become a brand ambassador. Some may even dangle the carrot of a free or discounted trip for a meeting or photoshoot, but beware—it’s a ruse to pilfer your personal and financial information.

Too-good deals

Beware of seemingly unbeatable deals popping up in Instagram ads or DMs. These offers are often too good to be true, leading to subpar products or, worse, receiving nothing at all while your money and personal information fall into the wrong hands. 

Ensure you’re making purchases from verified businesses, identifiable by the blue checkmark on their profile, to protect yourself from scams.

Instagram Red Flags

Keep an eye out for these red flags of fake or scammy Instagram accounts:

  • They DM first. Scammers will cast a wide net for victims.
  • Deceptive follower count. As we mentioned above, fake accounts have bogus bot followers.
  • Sounds fake? It is. Usernames with “official” or random numbers = scam.
  • No blue checkmark? Then they’re not legit.
  • Re-posted or stolen content instead of original.
  • No personal info or details in the profile.
  • Bio or posts have seriously sketchy links.

Report Fakers and Outsmart Scams

Help kick scammers off Insta by reporting:

  • Tap their profile, the three dots, Report, and follow the prompts.
  • While you’re at it, block them too so they can’t target your friends.
Avoid getting scammed on Instagram

Remember these tips to avoid getting scammed:

  • Go private to control your followers.
  • Only use well-known, reputable apps connected to your Insta.
  • Secure your account with strong passwords and 2FA.
  • Never click questionable links from strangers or give out personal info.
  • Vet investment opportunities thoroughly before committing money.
  • Only buy from real companies with verified accounts.

Stay sharp on Instagram and remember to trust your instincts.! If something seems fishy, it probably is. 

So be sure to keep your account secure, and help make Instagram a safer place by staying alert, sticking to verified businesses, and flagging the fakes. Happy, scam-free scrolling! Be alert to all the online predators who operate social media and fintech scams and remember to always keep your personal information under lock and key

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