Top 7 Cunning Instagram Scams That Can Fool You Right Now: How To Avoid Them?
Instagram is one of the world’s most popular social media apps with over a billion accounts registered. A platform of this size and scale will naturally attract predators as well.
Here’s how to catch them and protect yourself.
1) Phishing Scams
This is one of the most common ones out there and is not even restricted to Instagram alone.
Phishing is when an unknown sender messages someone with a suspicious link which prompts users to enter their login credentials.
Once the fraudsters receive this information, they gain access to the user’s personal details.
They can lock the person out of their own account by changing the password surreptitiously.
What to do? Delete messages like these and never open a link without verification that it is genuine.
2) Fake Influencer Sponsors
Instagram is currently a breeding ground for wannabe entrepreneurs or “influencers” who promote other brands’ products by attaching their face to it.
However these people are also exposed to crooks who feign being a named and verified brand.
These accounts then message the potential victims, offering them a handsome sponsorship deal.
The user can then be fooled to send over their bank details for a fraudulent deal they would never be paid for.
3) Romance Scams
This is one of the more insidious frauds out there. As opposed to the aforementioned 2 quick, easy and single-click scams, these types go for the long con.
The con artist first approaches the victim by what feels like genuine words, slowly establishing its presence and trust in the victim’s mind.
This trust is then naturally exploited by these elements who then begin to request coverage of expenses such as visas, flights, travel expenses and more.
When they are questioned, they come up with carefully crafted replies which would ideally give nothing away.
The ongoing pandemic has also allowed for convenient excuses as to why their travel plans were aborted, why they missed their flight, etc.
What to do? Never send money to someone you have never met in person, especially if the person states that they need the money to meet you in the first place.
4) Giveaway Scams
Another one hiding behind the guise of influencers, this one exploits the traditional “giveaways” genuine entrepreneurs host to push products and boost their own popularity.
The pretend giveaways are often lavish with intentions of attracting the most number of gullible users as possible.
They of course then message the hopefuls stating that they have, in fact, won and to claim the prize they must pay a “Shipping fee” since the prize is allegedly coming from abroad.
5) Loan Scams
These are more blatant in that suddenly out of nowhere one can receive a message stating that a loan with favorable interest rates is up for grabs and one just needs to pay a deposit to claim the same.
6) Fake Investment Scams
The fraudsters here impersonate a young, rich and allegedly “Self-made” entrepreneur with a fancy lifestyle who target users by sending them messages advertising snappy investment plans.
Again, here the user is urged to reveal personal bank details after which the “want”repreneuer disappears into thin air.
7) Job Scams
Highly sensitive info such as one’s home address, phone number, social security number, passport and immigration information and scans of ID documents are extracted from the victim who is promised a cushy job in exchange.
The need for such personal details is justified by saying that it is required to conduct background checks on potential candidates.
How You Can Help Yourself
- Create a strong password which ideally should be different from passwords used in other sites.
- Withhold personal info- the tendency to overshare on social media where one might hope to form connections or friendships could be the one leading to a person’s own downfall.
- Stay alert- keep a hawk eye out for potential scammers who ask for money in some way or another. Despite appearing friendly and approachable, one should not give their trust away easily and should always double check.
- Maybe set your account to private- if your account is purely for personal use as opposed to monetary purposes, there is no harm in setting your account to private which can be accessed only by friends and family.