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The 5 Biggest Instagram Scams of 2017

It seems scammers are getting smarter every day, and they’ve long been using social media to advance their malicious agenda. Scams are becoming prevalent on platforms like Instagram, and users are falling prey to schemes that compromise their security and rob them of their money.

Social media has made it a lot easier for scammers to reach out to their victims through the internet – which makes carrying out a crime far easier as well.

The FBI reported that the number of complaints filed about love/romance scams on social media has gone up by 20% from the previous year. The rising statistics tell us how do-no-gooders are becoming bolder and more aggressive with their schemes.

Social media managers for brands, regular Instagram users, and influencers are all at risk of getting scammed. It’s important, now more than ever, that you educate yourself about the different scams out there to protect your security.

The Powerball Scam

Mavis Wanczyk made headlines for being the sole winner of a Powerball jackpot worth $758.5 million. Wanczyk became the new poster girl for luck and the internet rejoiced with her.

It didn’t take long for scammers to take advantage of Wanczyk’s popularity. Soon, over a dozen fake accounts under her name sprouted up on various social media platforms. These accounts promised other users a portion of the winning in exchange for likes, comments, and (worse) personal information.

The Chicopee Police Department in Boston issued a statement warning the public of these devious accounts. The police urged the public to be vigilant of these accounts to avoid sending them sensitive information. They also encouraged users to report the accounts to prevent them from scamming even more people online.

One account under Wanczyk’s name promised users $5,000 in exchange for Bitcoins. The account even posted screenshots of messages from other users who’ve “received” their share of the winnings to reinforce their claims.

The account showed above even edited the profile image to include a fake verified symbol in an attempt to legitimize the credibility of the account.

To date, Wanczyk hasn’t issued any statement on whether she plans to share any of her winnings with the public, or with random Instagram users.

Flipping Money & Targeting Military Officials

Money-flipping is a financial scam that’s becoming more and more popular on Instagram. This scam involves cybercriminals extorting their victims into sending them money in the form of an investment.

Cybercriminals make it seem like their victims are investing their money in a business model that lets them “flip” or double their money in no time at all.

What’s even more alarming is the fact that these cybercriminals tend to target those in the military.

ZeroFOX released a white paper that details how they analyzed thousands of money-flipping accounts on Instagram and found that their posts often consist of military jargon and hashtags, and feature military-related images in the hopes of attracting those in service.

According to ZeroFOX, scammers tend to target military personnel because they’re very familiar with cash transfers overseas. Scammers exploit the distance between members of the military and their families to set their money-making scheme in motion.

Furthermore, military-specific banks have faster transactions and larger withdrawal limits to serve their overseas customers. Cybercriminals who target those in the military have the opportunity to withdraw larger sums of money before the bank’s anti-fraud detection system freezes the account.

Money-flipping scams also involve advertisements that mimic military-specific financial institutions and adopt a language that’s relevant to the military population. As you can see below, they exploit hashtags like # usaa, #armygirlfriend, and #armylove.

Image credit: ZeroFOX

It’s important to remind the public, especially those in the military, to be skeptical of accounts that promise high returns for investment via social media. Keep in mind that a credible financial institution will never request personal information through social media platforms like Instagram, outside of public polls.

If something sounds too good to be true, it most probably is. That’s more true than ever in the era of fake news and fake social media accounts.

Giveaway Accounts

It’s not uncommon to find fake accounts on Instagram that are made to look like official brand accounts.

Hint: the post below is not actually from Best Buy. It’s also the only post from that account, which only has 6 followers.

Scammers exploit big brands by creating accounts using slight variations of the company’s official name to draw their victims into their scheme.

These fake accounts are known for hosting giveaways that promise gift cards and cash prizes in exchange for social signals like comments and follow backs, or sometimes sensitive personal information.

Giveaway accounts not only give victims a false sense of hope but they also compromise their online security. Victims of giveaway accounts are more vulnerable to online hacking. The mere act of sharing sensitive information with cybercriminals opens you up to a variety of threats that compromise your security online.

Instagram Boutique Scams

These days, you can do most of your shopping without leaving the house. Recently, there’s been a steady rise in boutique accounts on Instagram that sell clothes, makeup, and some things in between.

Image credit: Independent

While there are Instagram boutiques out there who deliver exceptional service to their clients, there are also quite a few seedy ones known for their scammy business models.

There are hundreds of posts out there from customers who are complaining about receiving cheap and ugly versions of the clothes they’ve purchased through various Instagram boutiques. There are some number of customers who complain about never receiving what they ordered at all.

Image credit: JamaicanMateyAnGroupie

Online shoppers everywhere are posting proof to expose cheap clothing scams on Instagram. Despite efforts to report these shady online businesses to the proper authorities, many of them continue to operate and have thousands of followers that continuously fall for their money-making schemes.

Before you order anything online, do your research and find out as much about the company you’re buying from as you can.

If you’re planning on buying a few thousand Instagram Followers, only purchase from a reputable provider that’s guaranteed to deliver social signals as promised. While there are some scammers in this industry, we’ve taken the time to test and review hundreds of providers to learn which ones will provide the best value. Read our reviews before ordering to ensure you get your money’s worth.

Student Loan Accounts

There’s been a steady rise of student loan agencies on Instagram that promise to erase a person’s debt. At first glance, these pseudo-financial agencies offer promising services that sound enticing to someone who’s desperate for some financial relief.

But a closer inspection of their services would reveal that they’re offering things which you can find for free.

These fake financial agencies are actually just enrolling their victims in the Department of Education’s income-based repayment option, which allows debtors to repay what they owe based on a percentage of their monthly earnings.

And they charge sky-high fees for it!

At one point, these financial agencies were so popular that even celebrities were promoting them. Social media star Blac Chyna was called out by fans for posting about a scam student loan agency that operated under the name “Obama’s Student Loan Forgiveness.”

Image credit: Teen Vogue

Chyna deleted her post but you can still find screenshots of it on the internet.

Be A Vigilant Instagrammer

Scammers, both online and offline, are masters of deceit. They know all the right things to say to get you to do what they want.

Be wary of Instagram accounts that promise financial assistance, flooring cash prizes, and huge returns on investments. If a service or company offers reputable services, they usually won’t reach out to you via social media.

If something sounds too good to be true on Instagram, it most probably is. Be skeptical.

Practice the “buyer beware” philosophy, and remember it before making a purchase online. Do your research and don’t immediately believe everything you see or read — even if your favorite celebrities are promoting something.

There are some scammers in the social media business, but there are also quite a few reputable companies. If you’re looking into purchasing a few thousand Instagram Followers, check our reviews of the best companies first to ensure that you avoid scams. The right company can help you boost your social proof and reputation online, it just takes a bit of work to find them.

Reputable providers of high-quality social signals deliver their services as promised at a reasonable price. If someone offers you an impressive number of followers for dirt cheap, you better think twice. These companies often don’t live up to what they advertise.

Be a vigilant Instagrammer and stay scam-free.

Date: October 10, 2017 / Categories: Tips, / Author: Mariko


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