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Home Blog Online Safety 15 Instagram Scams 2023 to Watch Out for: How to Avoid and Stay on the Safe Side?
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Sep 7, 2023
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15 Instagram Scams 2023 to Watch Out for: How to Avoid and Stay on the Safe Side?

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As of 2023, Instagram commands an astounding user base exceeding 1.3 billion worldwide, according to Statista. This remarkable figure remains the fourth most pervasive social networking platform globally, trailing only behind titans like Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp. The sustained expansion of Instagram mirrors its enduring allure, encompassing a wide-ranging user demographic and global reach.

Yet, this global accessibility has also made Instagram an enticing playground for cybercriminals who deftly manipulate its interactive functionalities to perpetrate scams involving the illicit acquisition of funds and account access. Therefore, staying vigilant and informed is paramount in shielding oneself from such online threats. 

This review will tell you about 15 Instagram scam types to watch out for, providing insights and tips on protecting yourself from these deceptive schemes.

Can a User Get Scammed on Their Instagram Account?

Instagram users face a growing threat from scams, with 45% of influencers worldwide involved in fraud. All users must be aware of these scams, which include phishing attempts, fake giveaways or fake lottery schemes, impersonation, romance schemes, and more. These Instagram scam attacks can trick you into revealing personal information or losing money.

To stay one step ahead of these scams, users must keep their guard up and “trust but verify.” It’s like the old saying: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” By exercising caution, staying informed, and approaching every online interaction critically, you can shield your personal information and financial well-being while navigating Instagram’s digital landscape in 2023.

15 Types of Instagram Scams

15 Types of Instagram Scams

Beware of scams lurking in your Instagram messages. These tricks come in various forms, from tempting investments to phony job offers. Discover the following Instagram scam types you should steer clear of today. Stay vigilant and protect yourself from online fraud.

Giveaway Scams

Giveaway scams on Instagram are a real danger, tricking users with the promise of amazing prizes like cash or fancy gadgets. 

The scam in a nutshell:

So, always be cautious and double-check if a giveaway on Instagram is the real deal, not an Instagram scam. Legit ones won’t ask for your info or money to enter.

  • Scammers pretend to be famous influencers or brands, making their posts seem legitimate and exciting.
  • They ask you to follow their account, like the post, share it, or tag your friends to enter the giveaway. But here’s the trick. They’ll then ask you for money or personal info, like your phone number or email.
  • Giveaway scams play on your desire to win but are just traps. 
  • Falling for them can mean identity theft, loads of spam, or losing money.

Fake Product Scams

Instagram has become a fertile ground for counterfeiters who skillfully masquerade as genuine brand accounts. They lure unsuspecting users with the promise of exclusive deals on luxurious merchandise, creating an illusion of authenticity by accumulating fake followers to boost their credibility. To further deceive potential victims, these scammers employ Photoshop to craft visually enticing product images, blurring the line between fact and fiction.

Rather than disseminating information through conventional posts, they cleverly overlay essential details directly onto their images, making it challenging for users to verify the legitimacy of their offers. As a result, individuals enticed by these fake product scams often find themselves either empty-handed or possessing substandard or counterfeit products. And what to speak of inexperienced teens who may fall for the bait of scammers; in this case, using Instagram parental controls is a way out.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • Scammers impersonate authentic brands to dupe users.
  • Exclusive deals and discounts serve as bait.
  • Fake followers are used to appear genuine.
  • Manipulated product images captivate users.
  • Critical information is embedded within images.
  • Tragically, victims fall prey to this Instagram scam, receiving either subpar items or nothing.

Phishing Scams

Phishing Scams

Phishing scam on Instagram is a multifaceted threat, manifesting through emails and direct messages with the singular aim of exploiting unsuspecting users and compromising their security. Once scammers access your login credentials, they infiltrate your Instagram account, change your password, and lock you out. Subsequently, they assume your identity to deceive your friends, family, and other Instagram connections. In more sinister cases, if you divulge financial information like bank or credit card details, they can withdraw money, accumulate charges, and wreak havoc on your financial well-being.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • You get an “urgent” DM pressuring you to take quick action to secure your account against suspension.
  • Alternatively, Instagram DM scams may ask you to verify “suspicious activity.”
  • They aim to talk you into clicking a link to resolve the supposed issue.
  • This link takes you to a fake login page resembling Instagram’s real one.
  • Unsuspecting users unwittingly cough up their usernames and passwords, handing fraudsters the means for an account takeover.

Fake Influencer Accounts

Beware of fake influencer accounts, a prevalent Instagram scam luring users with enticing financial propositions. These accounts often slide into your DMs, masquerading as attractive finance experts. However, beneath their alluring exterior lies a concealed snare. These impostors adeptly manipulate your trust, presenting themselves as amiable financial authorities. Yet, behind their true nature, they engage in a deceptive ruse backed by a veneer of fake followers and engagement.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • You may receive a follow request or DM from an account that appears “popular.” However, be attentive as it may have many fake subscribers, positive people comments, likes, and so on. 
  • They may look attractive, but their content concerns something other than finance.
  • They tug at your heartstrings, tempting you with seemingly extraordinary “investment adventures” in realms like cryptocurrency or forex.

Always remember not everything that shines on Instagram is real. Stay vigilant and be wary of financial promises from unfamiliar accounts. Your caution is your best defense from the Instagram scam.

Fake Job Scams

Among the popular Instagram scam types, fake job offers reign supreme, dangling the lure of profitable employment opportunities. These scams craftily set their sights on job seekers, especially young adults, tapping into their yearning for meaningful work. Swindlers masquerade as reputable corporations, skillfully marketing tempting job positions that seem like a dream come true. But beneath the surface, victims face shattered dreams, financial losses, and the looming threat of identity theft.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • Impersonation of legitimate companies for fictitious job roles.
  • Tempting job seekers with unrealistically high salaries and perks.
  • Advertising unbelievably high-paying positions through posts and stories.
  • Job scammers require upfront fees or personal information under the guise of background checks or training.
  • Potential loss of money and exposure to identity theft.

Crypto Mining Scams

The crypto mining Instagram scam has become a prominent threat, exploiting the cryptocurrency frenzy to its advantage. Scammers masquerade as crypto experts, promising significant returns through mining investments. For example, they may claim that investing $3K now will get $9K of ROI in 4 hours. These fraudulent schemes entice victims with irresistible offers, only for them to suffer substantial financial losses.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • Impersonation of crypto experts offering lucrative mining investments.
  • Promising substantial profits to lure crypto enthusiasts.
  • Victims face financial losses as the promised returns never materialize.
  • Scammers often require victims to provide personal information and payment details, leading to identity theft.
  • Fake testimonials and reviews create a false sense of trustworthiness.
  • Bogus websites and social media profiles are used to deceive potential investors.
  • Warning signs, like unrealistic ROI claims and unverified credentials, are often overlooked by victims.

Music Promotion Scams

Music promotion scams are flourishing on Instagram, posing a significant challenge in the music industry. Fraudsters often pretend to be musicians, using this guise to get their accounts verified and attract potentially lucrative endorsement deals. These deceptive practices can mislead aspiring artists, causing them to engage with the scammers under false pretenses, only to find their efforts wasted as their music remains unnoticed by genuine audiences.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • Fake promotion profiles employ comment and direct message bots to lure musicians and songwriters.
  • They showcase your songs, boasting about the number of “views” they generate.
  • These views are often from bots, not genuine engagement, leaving your music with only artificial popularity.
  • Musicians may be charged substantial fees for these phony services, resulting in financial losses.

Romance Scams

Romance Scams

Instagram has become a fertile ground for romance scams, exploiting users’ emotions and trust. These schemes involve crafting deceptive profiles that feign authenticity, often showcasing attractive individuals leading enviable lives. Over time, scammers adeptly cultivate emotional connections, subsequently fabricating “emergencies” to extort financial aid. Victims find themselves manipulated into sending money, securing loans, or opening credit lines against their will, resulting in profound emotional and financial distress.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • Deceptive profiles initiate affectionate conversations.
  • Trust is meticulously cultivated over days, weeks, or months.
  • Scammers fabricate urgent financial crises.
  • Victims are manipulated into providing monetary aid.
  • Some are coerced into entering financial arrangements.
  • Scammers frequently claim job loss, visa issues, or rent struggles as reasons for needing money.
  • Loans and credit lines may be taken out in victims’ names.
  • The emotional toll on victims can be devastating, often leading to significant financial loss.

Blackmail Scams

Instagram is no stranger to blackmail scams that play on users’ fears and vulnerabilities. These scams throw threats to spill the beans on private information, strong-arm victims into paying up, and boast about their alleged access to victims’ files. The objective? To shake users to their core and manipulate them into meeting the scammer’s demands. When these sinister schemes rear their heads on the platform, you must keep your guard and question their authenticity. After all, appearances can be deceiving.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • Threats to release sensitive information.
  • Demands for payment or compliance.
  • Claims of hacking access to personal files.
  • They prey on users’ fears and vulnerabilities, hoping to exploit their apprehension and compliance.
  • Scammers may lack the information they claim to possess, using fear as a weapon to extort victims.

Paid Subscription Scams

Paid Subscription Scams

Instagram scam has found fertile ground on Instagram, tempting users with the allure of discounted or lifetime access to legitimate subscription services. As the saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” These scams are sophisticated, luring victims with promises of slashed prices and exclusive deals. However, beneath this veneer of affordability lies a trap ready to ensnare unsuspecting users.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • Paid subscription scamps often involve accounts that offer discounted subscriptions or lifetime deals.
  • They direct victims to fake copycat websites resembling real providers.
  • Scammers request payments and personal info.
  • Victims risk lost services or identity theft.
  • These scams exploit users, leaving them financially and personally vulnerable.
  • To stay safe, verify offers’ legitimacy and avoid impulsively sharing personal or financial info.

Sponsorship Scams

Fake sponsorship scams, sometimes known as Instagram ambassador scams, have surged on Instagram, preying on users eager to partner with brands. Scammers impersonate well-known companies or influencers and dangle attractive sponsorship offers to budding content creators. Still, behind the scenes, they’re setting up a deceitful trap to exploit trust and enthusiasm.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • Scammers impersonate real brand accounts, offering exclusive sponsorships.
  • They target users with a decent following and promising collaboration opportunities.
  • Promises include luxury trips and lavish accommodations.
  • Victims are asked to pay upfront expenses, like travel costs.
  • Scammers pledge reimbursement and may offer a sign-on bonus.
  • Personal banking details are requested.

Instagram Donation Scams

Are you being tricked on Instagram by donation scams? This Instagram scam type pretends to be charities or people in need, using sad stories to make you donate money. Sadly, most money doesn’t help anyone, and you feel emotionally and financially cheated. Be careful and check if donation requests are real to avoid falling for these scams.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • Impersonation of charities or people in need.
  • Heartfelt stories and pleas for financial support.
  • Requests for donations through various means.
  • Scammers frequently employ pressure tactics, claiming urgency or emphasizing the dire need for immediate contributions.
  • Funds rarely benefit the stated cause, leading to emotional and financial losses for donors.
  • Some scammers may even use fake updates to maintain the illusion that the donations are being put to good use.

Investment Scams

Investment Scams

Are you cautious of cash-flipping or get-rich-quick schemes on Instagram? Investment scams are on the rise, preying on users seeking financial opportunities. These scams masquerade as expert investors, luring victims with promises of substantial returns. However, beneath the enticing veneer lies a treacherous trap that exploits trust and eagerness.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • False promises of significant profits from investments.
  • Fake direct messages from people who have a wealthy lifestyle.
  • Claims of quick riches after investment.
  • Solicitation of funds or personal information.
  • Victims often suffer significant financial losses, with little hope of recovering their assets.

Bogus Brand Collaboration Requests

The main goal of Instagram influencers is to gather followers and score deals with brands for freebies and paychecks. But watch out! Cyber crooks have a trick: tempting influencers with fake collab offers. So, verifying collaboration requests is crucial to avoid falling prey to these scams and protect your online reputation.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • Scammers make attractive offers to influencers.
  • Influencers share bank info or pay fees as part of the “collab.”
  • Many influencers never receive the promised payments or products.
  • The reputational damage can be severe, affecting an influencer’s credibility.
  • Influencers end up scammed, with their bank accounts drained.

Selling Followers and Likes

Have you ever wondered if your favorite influencer’s massive following is the real deal? It turns out not always. Influencers often buy likes and followers to inflate their numbers. Cybercriminals exploit this by creating fake accounts that claim to sell these boosts. If influencers take the bait, they might share their financial info, unwittingly lining the scammer’s pockets.

The scam in a nutshell:

  • A fake account selling likes and followers.
  • Influencers purchasing these services share their financial details.
  • Genuine engagement with their audience diminishes.
  • In some cases, influencers could face account suspensions.
  • Influencers may damage their reputation and trustworthiness.

How to Spot a Scammer on Instagram: 15 Warning Signs

How to Spot a Scammer on Instagram: 15 Warning Signs

So, what are the Instagram scam warning signs you should know about?

  • Promises of quick money-making schemes.
  • Messages congratulating you with cash wins. 
  • Instagram scam messages to make you click the link.
  • Discounted popular items offerings.
  • Encouraging conversation outside Instagram.
  • Unsolicited investment opportunities.
  • Insistence on claiming a prize.
  • Promises of significant returns on fake investment offers.
  • Unverified accounts posing as companies.
  • Requests for personal data sharing.
  • Odd prayers asking you to send money on donation.
  • Messages with poor grammar.
  • Attractive offers containing links redirecting you to unknown websites.
  • Strangers asking you for money borrowing.
  • Promising attractive job opportunities for a fee.

How to Avoid Instagram Scams: 10 Cybersecurity Tips

So, how to protect yourself from Instagram scams? Here are some cybersecurity tips you should know about:

  • Make a private IG account

Go to your account “Settings,” navigate to “Privacy,” and check its accessibility. If it’s set to “public,” change it to “private.” Then only your friends and newly added followers can view your posts and stories. 

  • Use strong passwords

Strengthen your Instagram account security with a robust, unique password. Consider enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) for added protection.

  • Ignore suspicious offers

Be cautious of unsolicited messages, especially those promising easy money, job offers, or lucrative opportunities. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Never click on odd links

Never click on suspicious links sent by unknown accounts. Legitimate organizations won’t ask you to provide sensitive information via links in DMs.

  • Protect personal data

Block messages requiring you to share private information, such as your address, phone number, or financial information.

  • Check for spelling errors

Messages riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes are often red flags for potential scams. Exercise caution when encountering such messages, as they may indicate fraudulent accounts.

  • Investigate before investing

Conduct thorough research on the company, seek guidance from reputable financial advisors, and steer clear of offers that make extravagant promises of unrealistically high returns.

  • Buy from reliable accounts

Before making any Instagram purchases, verify the account’s authenticity by checking for the blue checkmark next to the account name.

  • Monitor third-party app usage

Go to your account “Settings,” “Security,” and “Apps and Websites,” and check whether no suspicious app was launched. Delete the ones you don’t recognize. 

  • Block suspicious IG accounts

Should you come across suspicious accounts, report them to Instagram. Additionally, blocking these accounts can help prevent any further contact.

What to Do If You Got Scammed on Instagram

So, what to do if someone scams you on Instagram? 

  • Don’t panic

Maintaining a clear head and remaining calm is essential. Failing to do so increases the likelihood of falling victim to scams, impairing your ability to think rationally.

  • Report to Instagram

Contact Instagram support to report the incident and request assistance.

  • Block the scammer

To avoid further communication, block the scammer’s account immediately. 

  • Change your passwords

Change your Instagram password and update other account passwords to protect your account from possible Instagram scam attacks.

  • Block your card and get in touch with your bank

If your financial data was compromised, contact your bank to close your card and inform them about the incident. 

  • Be cautious and employ cyber hygiene habits

In the future, avoid any suspicious messages you may get and never answer them. Click here to learn about cyber hygiene habits and protect yourself and your loved ones from possible Instagram scam attacks.

Why Is uMobix the Best App to Keep Your Kid Safe on Instagram?

Why Is uMobix the Best App to Keep Your Kid Safe on Instagram?

To safeguard your child from Instagram scam attacks, consider utilizing specialized tracking apps like uMobix. This tool allows you to monitor your child’s online activity effectively. With uMobix, you can track your child’s communication, view incoming and outgoing messages on Instagram, and access timestamps for each message. 

The app captures screenshots of phone activities for Android devices and sends them to your user space. iOS devices offer even more control, allowing you to manage their accounts as your own, such as unfollowing accounts, blocking users, sending DMs, etc. The app also includes a built-in location tracker, ensuring you can keep tabs on your child’s real-time whereabouts without them knowing on Google Maps. Additionally, uMobix features a keylogger tracking function, providing insights into every keystroke on your child’s phone. Its regular data updates every 5 minutes ensure you don’t miss a thing.

FAQ

Cybercriminals use different tactics to trick Instagram users, like phishing emails, names of reputable brands, fake giveaways, and job offers to steal personal data, login info, and finances, risking identity theft and financial loss. All Instagram scam types share a common objective: extracting your personal information, login credentials, or financial data.

Mobile scammers have a singular objective: gaining access to your Instagram account credentials. Once they breach your account, they can exploit it by disseminating scams to your followers, extracting sensitive personal information, stealing credit card details for financial gain, or using your identity stolen to engage in deceitful actions, such as disseminating false information or conducting phishing schemes.

If you encounter a potential Instagram scam, utilize the "Report" function available for posts and messages. Click on it, follow the instructions, and Instagram will handle the situation. Safeguard your data, and don't let anyone compromise your information.

The most prevalent Instagram scams include phishing text messages that steer you to malicious website addresses, congratulatory Instagram scam messages falsely claiming wins, counterfeit Instagram accounts peddling fake subscribers or likes, social media scams, dating scams, Instagram scams for money demand, and fake job postings with associated fees.

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