Instagram has more than 2.4 billion monthly users. With such a large audience, the social media site is bound to attract scammers. These scammers use deceptive techniques to manipulate Instagram users and target them to gain personal information or financial data.
In this article, we’ll discuss the most common scams on Instagram in 2024 and provide you with tips on how to stay safe while using the platform. So, read on to learn how to protect yourself from scammers and their deceptive tactics.
The Most Common Scams
The following are the most common scams in 2024 that you should know of:
Phony Influencer Scams
Influencer scams have taken over Instagram lately. The scam accounts will attempt to portray a celebrity and use the person’s likeness in their photos. The fake accounts may have a large follower account, but the followers feature primarily bots. The goal of the scam account is to message you directly and start interacting.
Once you start to message the fake influencer, the scammer will likely ask you for money or direct you to a link that contains malware.
Instagram Ad Scams
Instagram ad scams target individuals looking for deals on the platform. They promise low prices for high-quality products. The scam ad may feature luxury items like designer purses, electronics, or jewelry. Once you click on the ad, you’ll get taken to a sales page for an item that doesn’t exist. Also, you may purchase the item but receive a lower-quality version of what you bought.
Fake Job Scams
Fake job scam offers on Instagram are a common tactic to trick applicants into revealing their personal information, such as usernames, passwords, and financial details. The scams lure you in by offering high-paying positions. Once they have your information, the scammers can commit identity theft and target your finances.
Debt Consolidation Scams
Another type of fraud going around Instagram is a debt consolidation scam. Cybercriminals contact Instagram users and make offers to help them pay off debts at a low rate. In December 2023, a police report was filed when a woman claimed she gave a scammer her bank account information to help consolidate debt and get a new mortgage. The fraudster withdrew more than $100,000 from her accounts as a result.
Fraudulent Giveaway Scams
Instagram giveaway scams occur when someone posing as a legitimate company or influencer messages you about winning a giveaway. To claim the prize, the scammer will ask for financial information to cover fees like shipping costs. You may also get directed to an unsafe website.
Scammers have found ways to exploit Instagram users through crypto scams. They may reach out to you, claiming to be able to make you get rich quickly. To convince you to invest, the scammers use AI and other digital tools to pose as legitimate investors. These scams often involve requests for payment or personal information.
Wealth Management Scams
Scammers may pose as successful individuals enjoying a lavish lifestyle and promising substantial investment returns. The cybercriminal may share photos of private jets and exotic vacations. They’ll often request an initial investment and disappear once they receive the funds.
Counterfeit Product Scams
Fake product scams are common Instagram frauds where scammers set up accounts to sell counterfeit or non-existent products. For instance, Stanley cups are trendy right now and cost upwards of $40. Recently, a scam on Instagram featured ads marketing a $5.99 clearance sale. The goal of the scam was to steal money and user data. Always buy products from verified accounts and reputable websites.
How to Spot a Scammer on Instagram
While each Instagram scam may not all look the same, these are the most common warning signs to look out for:
- Unsolicited requests for money
- Claims of winning contests or prizes you never entered
- Get rich quick promises
- Job offers with a salary and benefits over the industry norm
- Attempts to move the conversation outside of Instagram
- Links to unknown websites
- Requests for personal information
- Poor grammar and spelling in messages
- Unverified accounts claiming to represent legitimate organizations
What to Do if You Get Scammed on Instagram
If you fall victim to an Instagram scam, it’s essential to take immediate action to minimize the damage by following these top tips:
- Stop all communication with the scammer and block the account on Instagram to prevent further contact.
- Report the account to Instagram. Let the site know the details of the scam.
- Change your passwords for all your online accounts and choose passwords that are challenging to guess.
- Review your financial accounts for unknown transactions and report them to your bank or credit card company.
- File a complaint with your local law enforcement agency. If you have concerns, you should alert the local police about the scam.
Additional Cybersecurity Tips
Prevention is the best defense against Instagram scams. Never share information with accounts that aren’t verifiable. Also, avoid visiting any links shared through the social media site. Steer clear of third-party apps on Instagram since they may contain malware.
Consider a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when using social media platforms like Instagram. VPN features like encrypted connections and IP address protection will help safeguard your private information while online.
Don’t forget to install antivirus and firewall software on your devices. Installing updates when they become available is also important to reduce the risk of cyber threats. Remember, your online safety is in your hands, so stay alert and protect yourself from scammers.