Table of Contents
- The Most Common Instagram Scams to Watch Out For
- What to Do If You Fall Victim to an Instagram Scam
- Protecting Your Kids from Instagram Scammers
Instagram has become a breeding ground for scams, with the platform being inundated with various fraudulent activities. From ambassador scams to crypto scams, scammers are finding new ways to exploit unsuspecting users. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the most common Instagram scams, how they operate, and what you can do to safeguard yourself and your family from falling victim to these scams.
The Most Common Instagram Scams to Watch Out For
1. Instagram Ambassador Scams
Instagram is filled with influencers and ambassadors who promote various products and services. While these influencers are legitimate, scammers often take advantage of their popularity and use their images to create fake accounts. These fake accounts then promote fake deals, investment opportunities, or competitions to lure unsuspecting users.
To avoid falling for an Instagram ambassador scam, it is crucial to never provide personal information online. Additionally, do not trust an account solely based on the number of followers it has, as scammers can easily buy fake followers to appear legitimate.
2. Instagram Crypto Scams
Crypto scams have seen a significant rise on Instagram, prompting the U.S Federal Trade Commission to question the platform’s owner, Meta, about their efforts to protect users from these scams. Crypto scammers pose as credible investors or online figures and create the illusion of a legitimate following. They engage victims in conversations, offering investment tips or exclusive deals with the promise of high returns.
To protect yourself from Instagram crypto scams, never take investment advice online or buy cryptocurrencies through Instagram. Always consult a qualified financial expert before making any investment decisions.
3. Instagram Email Scams
Phishing attacks are another common Instagram scam. Scammers send emails to victims, claiming that Instagram requires verification for certain purposes. These emails may ask for identity checks, offer access to special offers or versions, or promise coveted verification badges.
To avoid falling for an Instagram email scam, exercise caution when clicking on links. Only trust emails from Instagram if you have specifically requested them, and never enter any security information, such as passwords. Setting up two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security and protects you from scammers and hackers.
4. Sugar Daddy and Sugar Momma Instagram Scams
Romance scams on Instagram, such as sugar daddy and sugar momma scams, prey on vulnerable individuals seeking companionship or financial support. Scammers create convincing profiles and build trust with their victims, often sharing testimonials from other satisfied scam victims. They then ask for a token of loyalty, such as sending money or adding funds to prepaid or gift cards, before disappearing with the victim’s cash.
To avoid falling for a sugar daddy or sugar momma scam, never engage with strangers online or send money in any form. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
5. Instagram DM Scams
Scammers often contact potential victims through Instagram’s direct message (DM) function. They may add users to spam group chats where crypto scams or multi-level marketing (MLM) scams are shared. These messages often end up in the request or hidden inbox in your account, even if you have a private profile.
To protect yourself from Instagram DM scams, regularly check your inbox for spam messages and block and delete any unwanted contacts. Report anything suspicious to Instagram.
6. Instagram Romance Scams
Romance scams are prevalent on Instagram and target lonely individuals seeking love or companionship. Scammers approach victims innocently, often building rapport in the comment section of posts before moving to direct messages. They use manipulative tactics to gain victims’ trust, offering support, advice, and sharing personal stories.
To avoid falling for an Instagram romance scam, never give personal information, intimate photographs, or money to someone you don’t know in person. Be aware that romance scammers can be highly sophisticated and prey on their victims’ emotions and insecurities.
7. Instagram Hacking Scams
Hacking scams on Instagram can be particularly tricky to detect. Scammers gain access to an account, often through phishing methods, and then use the legitimacy of the hacked account to trap others. They may message the account’s followers, asking for money or extracting valuable information.
To protect yourself from Instagram hacking scams, exercise caution when receiving messages from friends or followers asking for help or money. Always verify the authenticity of the request by contacting the friend directly. Never send money to someone attempting to blackmail you.
8. Instagram Scams for Money
Apart from crypto investment schemes, there are various other cash-related scams on Instagram. Fraudulent sellers offer too-good-to-be-true deals or last-minute sales, often using authentic-looking payment pages to steal from their victims. Scammers may also create fake Venmo, Zelle, or CashApp accounts to trick users into transferring money.
To avoid falling for Instagram money scams, only use the official “shop” feature on Instagram or visit the company’s website through a separate tab or browser. Never transfer money to someone you don’t know and be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true.
What to Do If You Fall Victim to an Instagram Scam
If you become a victim of an Instagram scam, you’re not alone. Report the scam to Instagram and follow the official guidance provided on Instagram’s guidelines page. If the scam involves criminal activity, report it to the relevant authorities. In some cases, your bank may assist you if you have been financially scammed, so it’s worth contacting them for support.
Protecting Your Kids from Instagram Scammers
Children and teens are particularly vulnerable to Instagram scams due to their lack of experience and susceptibility to enticing offers. To protect your kids from Instagram scammers, follow these steps:
- Ensure Privacy Settings are On: Enable privacy settings on your child’s Instagram account to prevent unknown adults from contacting them.
- Teach Your Child Not to Click Suspicious Links: Instruct your child to avoid clicking on suspicious links, even if they come from a friend. Teach them how to verify the legitimacy of links by contacting their friends through other messaging methods.
- Don’t Accept Follow Requests from Strangers: Advise your teens to only follow celebrities and influencers they know are legitimate. Restrict followers to people they know in real life to minimise the risk of falling for scams.
- Never Give Out Personal Information: Regularly remind your teen not to share personal or identifiable information online. Even the smallest details can be used by scammers to exploit them.
- Password Protection and Two-Step Authentication: Emphasise the importance of keeping passwords safe and regularly updating them. Enable two-step authentication on all social accounts for an added layer of security.
- Download Parental Controls: Install parental control software like Kidslox to provide additional protection. Kidslox can prevent purchases through your child’s device, monitor their activity, and send you screenshots for review. You can also set time limits on apps to promote healthier technology usage.
Instagram’s scams are constantly evolving, and it is crucial to remain vigilant. Stay informed about online scams, share information with your family and friends, and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from falling victim to Instagram fraud.