Scammers use social media platforms, like Instagram, to defraud people. Instagram has become a popular target in recent years. This report will explore ways scammers use Instagram to trick people. They do this by getting money or personal information from them. Also, learn what users can do to protect themselves against these scams.

Phishing scams

Scammers use Instagram by setting up fake accounts. They use these accounts to send phishing messages to other users. These messages appear to come from legitimate accounts. For example, from a celebrity or a trusted brand. These links lead to fake websites or downloads that install malware on the user’s device.

To protect against phishing scams, users should exercise caution when clicking on links or downloading files from unknown accounts. Additionally, if they receive a message from a suspicious account, they should verify its authenticity before responding or taking any action.

Furthermore, users should be mindful not to share sensitive personal or financial information online, even if the request appears to come from a legitimate source. In summary, always be vigilant and verify the authenticity of all sources before sharing personal information or taking action.

“Influencer” scams

Scammers also use Instagram by posing as “influencers” – users with large followings who are paid to promote products or services. Some scammers set up fake accounts to promote fake or overpriced products. Others create fake “influencer” agencies to solicit payment from brands in exchange for promoting their products. Be aware of these tactics and avoid engaging with suspicious influencer accounts or agencies. Instead, do your research on the authenticity of the account or agency before engaging with them.

How to protect against the influencer scam?

Users should be cautious when purchasing products that are promoted by influencers, particularly if the influencer is not well known or the product seems too good to be true. Users should also be wary of any “influencer” agencies that charge brands for promoting their products, as these may be scams.

“Friend” scams

Scammers may also use Instagram to trick people into thinking they are friends or acquaintances. These scammers may create fake accounts and use them to send friend requests or direct messages to users, pretending to be someone the user knows. Once the user accepts the request or responds to the message, the scammer may try to extract personal information or money from the user.

How to protect against “friend” scams?

Users should be careful about accepting friend requests or responding to messages from unknown accounts. If they receive a message from an account that appears to be someone they know, they should verify the authenticity of the account before responding or sharing any personal information. Users should also be aware of common signs of a scam, such as requests for money or personal information, and be cautious of anyone who seems too good to be true.

Follow for follow Instagram scams

“Follow for follow” scams, also known as “follow trains,” are a type of scam that targets users on Instagram. These scams typically involve users being promised a certain number of followers in exchange for following a particular account or paying a fee.

Scammers may use a variety of methods to lure users into participating in a follow-for-follow scam. For example, they may set up a fake account and use it to send follow requests or direct messages to users, offering to follow them in exchange for a follow back.

The scammers may also create posts or hashtags that promise to give users a certain number of followers in exchange for following a particular account or paying a fee.

While these scams may seem harmless at first, they can actually be quite harmful to users. By participating in a follow-for-follow scam, users may be exposing themselves to spam, phishing attacks, or other types of scams.

Additionally, following fake or low-quality accounts can lead to a decline in the quality of the content that users see in their feed, as Instagram’s algorithm may prioritize these accounts over more reputable ones.

Our investigations into Common Scams of 2023

Celebrity meet-and-greet scams

Celebrity meet-and-greet scams are a type of scam that involves users being promised the opportunity to meet a celebrity in exchange for paying a fee. These scams may be advertised through posts or hashtags on Instagram and may appear to be legitimate offers to meet celebrities at events or through personalized experiences.

However, these scams are often run by scammers who have no intention of actually providing the promised meet-and-greet experience.

Instead, they may use the payment to fund their own activities or simply disappear with the funds. In some cases, the celebrity being advertised may not even be aware that their name is being used to promote the scam.

Other Known Scams on Instagram

“Likes for likes” scams, in which users are promised a certain number of likes in exchange for liking a particular post or paying a fee

“Contest” scams, in which users are promised a prize in exchange for entering a contest and providing personal information or paying a fee

To protect against these and other scams, users should be cautious of any offers that seem too good to be true and be careful not to share personal information or money with anyone online. They should also be aware of the signs of a scam, such as requests for payment or personal information, and be sure to do their due diligence before engaging with any accounts or offers that seem suspicious.

In addition to being aware of the signs of a scam and exercising caution, there are several other steps that users can take to protect themselves against scams on Instagram:

  • Enable two-factor authentication on their account: This will require users to enter a code sent to their phone or email in addition to their password when logging in, making it more difficult for scammers to access their account.
  • Use a strong, unique password: Users should choose a strong, unique password for their Instagram account and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Be selective about who they follow and accept friend requests from: Users should be careful about who they follow and accept friend requests from, as following or accepting a request from a scammer may increase the likelihood of being targeted by a scam.
  • Check the validity of accounts and offers: Before engaging with any accounts or offers on Instagram, users should do their due diligence to ensure that they are legitimate. This may include verifying the authenticity of an account by checking for signs of a fake account, such as a small number of followers or posts, or contacting the brand or celebrity directly to confirm that the offer is legitimate.

Our investigations into Common Scams of 2023

By following these tips and being aware of the various ways in which scammers use Instagram to defraud people, users can protect themselves and their personal information from being targeted by scams on the platform.

Instagram Sugar Momma Scams

Sugar momma scams on Instagram involve individuals pretending to be wealthy older women who are seeking a younger man to financially support and spoil in exchange for companionship or romantic relationships. These scammers may create fake profiles on Instagram and other social media platforms, often using stolen photos of attractive women to lure in their victims. They may also use hashtags related to sugar momma or sugar baby relationships to attract potential victims.

What are the tell-tale signs?

There are a few telltale signs that an Instagram account may be a sugar momma scam. First, be wary of profiles that seem too good to be true, especially if the person’s photos show them living a lavish lifestyle or traveling to exotic locations. Scammers may use these photos to make their profiles seem more appealing and to gain the trust of their victims.

Another red flag is if the person contacts you out of the blue and offers you financial support or gifts in exchange for your company or affection. Scammers may use elaborate stories or sob stories to try and gain your sympathy and trust. Be especially cautious if the person asks for personal information or financial assistance, as this could be a sign that they are trying to scam you.

It’s important to remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you are contacted by someone on Instagram who claims to be a sugar momma looking for a sugar baby, be cautious and do your due diligence before engaging with them. If you have any doubts or concerns, it may be best to avoid the person altogether.

Influencer Scam Blacklist

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Attention: Consumers who have been contacted by scammers could have had their personal information breached. TotalScam!™ highly recommends that consumers whose information has been breached obtain an identity theft protection service immediately.

There are several companies that offer identity theft protection in the US. One of the most inexpensive options we were able to find is the protection offered by LifeLock. You can start your protection here.

Disclaimer: The information and opinions contained on this site are not endorsed by LifeLock. TotalScam!™ receives compensation from LifeLock. This helps support our scam prevention efforts.

Our investigations into Common Scams of 2023