8 Recent Instagram Scams To Avoid (2018 Updated)

Instagram is an excellent social media platform to connect with other people. Whether for business or personal reasons, this social networking app is well-known for making and keeping connections with important people in your life.

Instagram Girl

Unfortunately, there are people that will take a positive platform such as Instagram and use it to their advantage (and your disadvantage) to prey on and scam people.

These con-artists will use social networking platforms to will scam whoever and however they want to, as long as they don’t get caught.

Fake Instagram accounts have begun to be a huge problem, here’s how to protect yourself from scammers who aren’t who they say they are.

Scam Tip: Keep an eye out for scams like the ones below across all of your social networking accounts as they happen on other social media platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, you name it.

1. The Money Flipping Scam

Instagram Money Flip

A victim on a money flipping scam will be lured into promises of large return investments by giving a small amount of cash.

These scammers are extremely clever. They even will ask for access to a person’s empty bank account (if they are broke), deposit bad checks to make the person believe that they are getting a payout, then quickly withdraw the money before anyone realizes that the checks were bad.

Anyone can be a victim of a money-flipping scam. It is wise to not provide our personal information to these people.

Bonus Material: Check out this guide on How to Stop a Spam Caller

2. Fake Company Accounts

There are a plethora of fake Instagram accounts that claim to be real companies. Most of the time, they pretend to be a big corporation (such as Best Buy) and try to scam people by claiming they are giving something away, or that they are recruiting people.

Instagram Fake Accounts

Tread carefully when seeing any company trying to recruit or have giveaways on Instagram.

Some of the accounts are fake and it is unclear what their intentions are. You may be putting yourself in an unsafe situation by responding to these accounts. Make sure to check the URL that the Instagram account links to as well as the number of followers the account has.

For example, if an account is claiming to be the official account of Best Buy, check where their account links to and how many followers they have. If you look at the Instagram of a big corporation such as Walmart, they have over one million followers. Most large companies have 100,000+ followers.

Also, check how often they post on their profile and what they post. If you look at the official account for Walmart it is very professional and doesn’t just have just giveaways. Their account has over 1300 posts.

Instagram Verification Tip: Most large companies on Instagram should have a blue checkmark next to their username in the left corner.

3. Get This For Free Scams

Instagram Free Product

Most of the time, if a company offers something for “free” people come running (because they think it’s a good deal and that they are getting a “special” offer). Be careful when companies offer free items, usually they don’t end up being free because they charge shipping.

But how do they make money just off of the few dollars you pay for shipping? It’s simple. Most of the companies that offer these products for free get the actual products that you are buying from China in bulk for next to nothing (Such as buying from Alibaba).

Once the product is purchased, the company uses middleman such as BigCommerce (they handle tasks such as credit cards payments) to pass the buyer’s info directly to the company from China. Sites that sell these products through Instagram and offer free shipping often times never actually keep the products in stock before they get sent to the customer.

This term is known as drop shipping.

So, even though you may think you are getting a good deal, you are actually getting a cheap item that costs pennies to make and will take at least a month to get to you. Additionally, the company might not be credible and they may actually just steal your money.

4. Money For Likes, Comments, And Shares

Money for likes

A popular scam in the recent world of Instagram is to promise Instagram users money for likes, comments, shares, etc.

There are many Instagram users out there that are trying to make a living by promoting products or services via their Instagram, and some do make good money.

If you have someone approach you about being an Instagram influencer, you need to cover yourself in case they are trying to scam you. If they are a con artist, they will try to ask for your personal information to “payout” your earnings. Instead, they will (again) steal from you. Do you see a pattern here?

Make sure if you are working with someone to get some sort of contract up front, and to pay through a safe payment platform such as PayPal.

5. Giveaway Accounts

Some giveaway contests are truly giveaways. There are a lot of fun giveaways, some with really valuable prizes.

Instagram Giveaways

However, there are fake ones as well. To spot a fake giveaway, first look at the account the giveaway is posted on.

Check the number of followers on the giveaway page.

If they only have a few followers (and/or most of their followers have spammy looking accounts), the giveaway may be a scam.

Also, you might want to only do a giveaway on an account that has been active for at least a few months.

Another tip: No giveaway should request you to pay money! Even if it’s just shipping.

6. Promises To Clear Debt

There are far too many so-called companies that make claims to erase your debt that they can’t follow through with.

Instagram Promises To Clear Debt

These claims include promises to remove the negative marks on your credit so that you can buy a house or just have a better credit score for future needs.

These promises may sound appealing to you if you are struggling with poor credit (but you need to be careful). Especially if these promises are made over Instagram. A professional company should not conduct their business over a social media platform such as Instagram.

This goes for any situation; You need to be careful who you give your personal information to (especially if that information involves your credit history).

The last thing you want to do is to give out personal information to a fraudulent company, or one that has shady business practices. I’d suggest never reaching out or responding to someone on Instagram that claims to repair your credit or giving out your personal information on Instagram, but hey that is your personal choice.

7. Catfish Scam

What is a catfish? Basically, someone on the internet who pretends to be someone that they aren’t.

Check Our Guide On How To Catch A Catfish

Instagram Catfish Scam

On Instagram, catfish will send short, not very personal messages such as “How Are You”? Most of these people will be very attractive and you will want to respond back (but don’t).

If someone looks suspicious to you, you can try to do a Google Image Search to see if they are who they say they are. Once you are on the Google Image Search Bar, simply select the camera icon to the right and paste the image URL or upload the image.

Additionally, you can always block and ignore people if you don’t want to talk to them.

If there is an issue and someone is claiming that they need money from you for some sort of personal, professional, or whatever reason, I would do some investigating.

You can always search for someone using our Search By Name Lookup Tool.

8. Instagram Will Delete Your Account

Have you ever received this Instagram message?

It’s usually along the lines of :

Instagram has too many accounts and is going to cancel any accounts who don’t follow the instructions below…

The instructions usually state that you have to share some sort of picture on your profile to claim that you are a real person and an active user.

This technical crisis is false. Instagram has never had too many users. Furthermore, Instagram has a more mature algorithm for weeding through fake profiles.

Instagram Delete Account

Remember This As You Exit The Article…

There are so many scams on Instagram. So, so many. This article only touches briefly on the many scams that occur day-to-day. I’ve only shared the most popular ways that people get conned on Instagram, so please watch out for anything else that comes your way.

The safest way to use your Instagram is to self-promote and share pictures with your followers. Any other action should be greatly considered before being pursued.

The main thing to remember is that it’s not smart to share personal information on Instagram, ever. Keep this in mind always.