With over a billion daily active users, Instagram has become a potential hub for scammers and hackers to post various fake ads and scams. Unsolicited links sent in Instagram DM might steal your data and hard-earned money. Let’s look at the common Instagram Scams in this explainer to safeguard your digital identity in 2022. Additionally, you can learn to stop someone from impersonating you on Instagram.
Protect Yourself from these Common Instagram Scams
Besides various ongoing scams such as WhatsApp OTP scams or Fake QR Code, Instagram is being widely targeted by hackers to steal your personal information and demand money using a link in the direct message sent to you. Majorly speaking, you can classify these attacks into two categories namely, Link Scams and Money Scams. Let’s look at each of them to gain a better understanding.
As the name suggests, Link Scams target stealing your personal information through various unsolicited links. Scammers often embed them in the sent messages and any interaction shall reveal your account details to the hackers. These scams usually act in a chained manner where a message from a compromised account leads to another hack. Account verification, copyright, and picture picker scams are some popular examples of this category.
Instagram Account Verification Scam
In this scam, a direct message is sent from a hacked account of your known asking a favor like verifying or signing in to their Instagram account. The received message will contain a link to provide your details as a screenshot or a link. Once provided, your account will be hacked and you shall be locked out. Consequently, the hacker will change the personal and recovery details and use your account to scam others under your name.
Here’s What Happens
You will receive a message from your friend, or someone whom you trust or contact frequently. It will state that your friend either wants to get his account verified or has bought a new phone and is unable to sign in.
Your friend (basically the scammer) has picked you to help him get verified or sign in back to his account. The scammer will send you a link that you need to screenshot or send it back. Once sent, you get locked out of your account without being able to recover it.
What happened here is, the link/screenshot you shared back contains the recovery details of your account. The scammer used it to lock you out. Thereafter, your personal details are changed to prevent you from recovering the account.
Copyright Notice Attack
The copyright notice attack is a common scam where you will receive a message from a popular brand/icon (having significant followers) notifying you of a copyright violation. It will contain a feedback link to submit details or else your Instagram account will be closed within 24 hours. Once you fill in your details, they will go straight to the scammer who will use it for malicious purposes.
Instagram Picture Picker Scam
Picture Picker Scam is another common scam where you receive a message from friends (hacked accounts) informing you that your photos are selected by the renowned Picture Picker page. You will see a preview of the page showcasing a huge follower base with a link at the bottom to submit an entry. Once clicked, you’ll be redirected to an empty page, and the scammer will gain access to your account and forwards the same message to your friends.
1. Such messages you’ve received is from a hacker who has hacked or gained access to your friend’s/close friend’s profile.
2. DO NOT tap or interact with links embedded in messages, as it’s an attempt to gain access to your profile. If the hacker gains access to your account, he will lock you out by changing the password and recovery address. After this, he will use your compromised account to target your friends and followers.
3. Instagram does not send you any direct message to notify you of actions, features, and copyright infringements. All official communication and emails will be received only at your registered email address.
4. Finally, report the account to Instagram so that you can save others from the scam.
Besides stealing personal information, Instagram scams are widely used to demand money from users by showing them lucrative offers. The scammer congratulates you for winning a giveaway or a jackpot and demands to send a small sum of money to claim it. Here’s everything you need to know to stay away from them.
In such scams, you will receive a message from unknown profiles or popular page that claims to offer free giveaway products. They will congratulate you on your win and will provide a link at the bottom to claim your prize. Further, you will be instructed to pay a small sum of money as shipping charges. In some cases, users have even reported getting a link for picking a different product as the giveaway prize. Once your payment details are entered, they are sent to the spammer who drains your hard-earned savings from the bank.
Crypto Currency Scam
Ever since the cryptocurrency market witnessed a huge explosion in investors, scams related to cryptocurrency became widely existent. Users get direct messages from ‘Instagram Traders’ claiming to teach tricks to make jaw-dropping profits by investing a small sum. To make things more believable, they often add fake portfolio photos displaying outstanding profits in crypto trading.
Such messages redirects to the scammer’s Instagram profile where the viewer’s curiosity is amplified to make him/her pay for it. Scammers also ask for your cryptocurrency wallet address to send a generous amount in exchange for a small crypto payment.
1. Look out for grammatical mistakes in the message and review the sender’s profile to authenticate if the message is genuine.
2. Do not interact with any link inside the message out of curiosity. It may cost you a fortune.
3. Avoid following and interacting with accounts that showcase their portfolio profits every day through Instagram status and posts.
Bonus: Recover your Hacked Instagram Account
If you’ve accidentally clicked the scam link and locked yourself out from your Instagram account, don’t panic. Follow our detailed explainer on getting your Instagram Account back after being hacked.
Safety Tip: Stop Others From Logging into Instagram with your Password
Instagram also provides a couple of in-built features to safeguard your account from common Instagram scams and various cyber-attacks. 2-Factor Authentication can help prevent anyone from sliding into your Instagram account even if they know your password. Read our detailed guide on how to stop others from logging into Instagram with your password to achieve the same.
Wrapping Up: Ensure Digital Safety with Instagram
So that’s everything you should know to keep yourself protected from various common Instagram scams in 2022. If you’ve learned something useful to safeguard your digital safety, then hit the like button and share it. Check out other useful tips linked below, and stay tuned for more quality guides.
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