5 Common Instagram Scams (With Examples!)

    instagram scams

    Instagram is a wildly popular social media platform for sharing photos, videos, and stories, but it’s also a breeding ground for scams. Keep reading to learn about five common Instagram scams you need to be aware of and tips on how to protect yourself.

    5 Instagram Scams

    • Password Reset Link Scam
    • Forex / Cryptocurrency Trading Scam
    • Giveaway Scam
    • Account Purchase Scam
    • Fake Influencer Scam

    Password Reset Link Scam

    This is one of the scams on Instagram that comes in many forms. The scammer’s end goal is always the same: to get the victim to send a password reset link for their account (or a screenshot of it). Naturally, the scammer won’t mention the fact that it’s a password reset link; this scam is often conducted under the guise that they need votes for some kind of Instagram popularity contest or they need help verifying their account to get the blue checkmark. Below are two examples of this scam:

    If you ever receive a message with a similar request, don’t interact in any way and block the scammer’s account immediately.

    Forex / Cryptocurrency Trading Scam

    Scammers promote fake investment opportunities in forex (foreign exchange) or cryptocurrencies, promising high returns. They often ask for an initial investment but disappear once they receive the funds. Here’s an example:

    Be wary of investing in unknown or unverified forex or cryptocurrency schemes, on Instagram as well as other platforms. There are lots of Instagram money scams out there, so please watch out.

    Giveaway Scam

    Scammers will often message potential victims informing them that they’ve won a prize. They will then ask for personal information such as name and address, and request payment via PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, or another online payment service, to cover delivery costs. Of course, the prize will never be delivered, leaving the victim out of pocket and having inadvertently handed over their personal info to a scammer. Here’s one example of this scam:

    As you can see in the screenshot, the scammer’s account has 187,000 followers. Unfortunately — as is often the case in such scams — the account was likely hacked by the scammer. This is why, even if someone has a high follower count or a blue checkmark next to their name, you shouldn’t blindly trust them.

    Account Purchase Scam

    In this scam, which is one of the classic scams on Instagram, the scammers offer to purchase the potential victim’s account — normally for a significant amount of money. Here’s an example:

    However, they have no interest in purchasing the account. Under the ruse that they need to check/verify the account, the scammer will request the email address and password associated with it. Of course, this will immediately give them access to the account, and they will promptly change the password to lock the victim out.

    Fake Influencer Scam

    Scammers behind sketchy websites will often create Instagram accounts for their sites, in an effort to make them seem more legitimate. In addition to this, they will also message people on Instagram and invite them to be influencers for their site. Here’s what this may look like:

    The scammers will almost always offer to send free items from their shop, but the catch is that the victim will need to pay for the delivery costs. And because the sites are sketchy, it’s likely that the victim may not receive anything in the end, or if they do, the items will be of very low quality.

    Tip to Stay Safe

    • Be wary of unsolicited messages and requests for personal information.
    • Verify the legitimacy of offers and giveaways before providing any information.
    • Use strong, unique passwords and enable two-factor authentication for added security.

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