According to the FBI, there are almost 250,000 people who fall victim to online phishing scams every year. These phishing scams cost these victims more than $50 million in total.
For a long time, most of the scammers trying to carry out phishing scams did so through the use of email. But in recent years, some of them have started to conduct social media scams on sites like Instagram.
You might not think that you’re going to be susceptible to an Instagram phishing scam. But if you don’t know how to spot a phishing scam on the ‘gram, you could very well become the next victim of one.
Today, we’re going to talk to you about some of the phishing scams to be aware of on Instagram. We’re also going to break down how to use Instagram safely so that you don’t end up falling for an Instagram phishing scam at any point.
Here are some tips on how to avoid an Instagram phishing scam.
Look Out for Any Suspicious Links Sent on Instagram
As you’ll see in a few moments, there are some scammers that will go to great lengths in an attempt to get you to fall for an Instagram phishing scam. But there are also still quite a few of them that will take the most basic approach to try to scam you.
These scammers will often send suspicious links to your Instagram DMs in the hopes that you’ll click on them. When you do, these links will usually direct you to a fake Instagram log-in screen, and if you provide your Instagram details on it, you’ll essentially toss a scammer the keys to your Instagram account.
With this in mind, you shouldn’t ever click on any suspicious links that show up in your Instagram DMs unexpectedly. Don’t allow curiosity to get the best of you unless you want to fall for one of the oldest scams in the book.
Steer Clear of Shady Emails That Seem to Be From Instagram
In addition to keeping an eye out for any suspicious links that get sent to your Instagram DMs, you should also keep your eyes peeled for shady emails sent to you by Instagram. These emails are another tool that some scammers will use to pull a fast one on you.
In many cases, these emails will tell you that you posted content on your Instagram page that violates copyright laws. They’ll then instruct you to fill out a form to avoid facing any penalties.
If you fill out this form, you’ll usually send at least some personal information directly to a scammer. It’s why you should delete these emails immediately and ignore them.
If you’re really worried about your Instagram account, you can shoot Instagram an email to inquire about it. But they’re more than likely going to tell you that the email that was sent to you was part of an Instagram phishing scam.
Resist the Urge to Share Banking Information With an Instagram “Sponsor”
Social media influencers are everywhere these days. If you’re able to get even just a few thousand followers, you might be able to score some kind of an endorsement deal with a company that’s looking to market their products or services to your audience.
Some scammers have started to use this to their advantage. When they spot people who have achieved decent-sized followings on Instagram, they’ll sometimes hit them up and pretend to be a potential “sponsor.” They’ll iron out an Instagram sponsorship deal with them and then ask them to send them their banking information so that they can get paid.
Just one problem: These scammers obviously aren’t sponsors at all. They’re scammers who are going to take your banking info and use it to rob you blind.
You’ll think that you’re on the verge of striking it rich on Instagram. But in reality, you’ll be just days away from losing a sizeable amount of money in some cases.
Practice Caution When Engaging in Romantic Relationships on Instagram
Most scammers are going to try to steal either personal information or money from you right away when they’re carrying out an Instagram phishing scam. They aren’t going to stick around for too long if you don’t seem to be interested in giving them what they want.
But every now and then, a scammer will decide to play the long game while conducting an Instagram phishing scam. They’ll strike up a conversation with you on Instagram, get you interested in them, and attempt to start a romantic relationship with you.
If they’re successful, they’ll then prey on your emotions and convince you to send them money for all kinds of reasons. By earning your trust, they’ll put themselves in a position to collect a big payday.
You should be very cautious when engaging in romantic relationships on Instagram and other social media sites. You should also refuse to send money to anyone that you haven’t ever met in person yet.
Stay Away From Too-Good-to-Be-True Instagram Giveaways
If you spend enough time on Instagram, you’re no doubt going to come across a scammer trying to pull this Instagram phishing scam on you. They’ll tell you that you’ve won an awesome giveaway and ask you to either provide some personal info before you collect it or pay a “shipping” fee to get your hands on it.
If something like this happens to you and you’re told that you won something that seems too good to be true, that’s because it probably is. Convincing people that they’ve won something on social media has turned into another classic phishing scam.
There might be a small chance that something like this isn’t a scam if you’ve entered a legit giveaway through a reputable company. But otherwise, you’ll want to avoid falling for this trick and sending a scammer something.
Be On the Lookout for “Lenders” Extending Loans With Amazing Rates
Almost 25% of American adults have at least one personal loan at this time. With so many people living paycheck-to-paycheck, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to hear that lots of Americans have taken to using personal loans to keep their finances afloat.
Scammers know that many people are looking for loans nowadays. And they aim to take advantage of this by sliding into people’s Instagram DMs and letting them know about the loans that they can provide for them.
Oftentimes, the loans that these scammers offer come with amazing rates attached to them. It gives people some (false!) hope and makes them take their guards down for just a second.
But as you can probably guess, the loans that these people are being offered aren’t legit. Instead, they’re merely used to attract people who are in desperate need of money at this moment.
Once scammers have their attention, they’ll tell these people that, in order to get access to their loans, they’ll need to provide them with a small deposit. And once this deposit is sent, the scammers disappear with both their loan offers and the deposits that they received.
Try Not to Fall for Phony Instagram Investment Schemes
There isn’t anything particularly new about “get rich quick” schemes. But they have, unfortunately, become a lot more believable in the Instagram era.
In this day and age, some scammers will set up Instagram accounts that show off an “investor” with all of his houses, cars, boats, etc. These scammers will then encourage people to invest with them by promising to help make them rich in a short period of time.
After seeing everything that an “investor” has going on while checking out their Instagram page, some people will take the bait and agree to send money to them. They’ll be redirected to another website where they can deposit money and see how their investments do in the coming days.
But, of course, this website isn’t going to be real. It’s going to be made to look like it’s helping people to invest their money wisely. But in reality, the money that you sent to a scammer will be pocketed and stolen for good.
This Instagram phishing scam has become very prevalent throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many people out of work, some have resorted to trying to take part in “get rich quick” schemes to pad their pockets. It has resulted in many of them ending up in even worse situations.
Beware of Anyone Offering Jobs on Instagram
There is a chance that you might be able to land an amazing job through the power of networking on Instagram. You can “meet” someone within your industry and network with them online before using this connection to find work.
But there is also a chance that you can get scammed if you ever fall for a bogus job offer from a scammer. There are scammers that will reach out to people through Instagram DMs and make them job offers that they can’t refuse.
The only catch? Before people can accept these job offers, scammers will tell them that they need to run a background check. And in order to do this, they say that they’ll need them to send some personal info.
You can guess where this is going! Once a person has sent a scammer their personal info so that a “background check” can be conducted, the scammer will go missing. They’ll also take this person’s personal info and use it to hurt them.
This should almost go without saying. But if you’re being offered a job through Instagram, you should question the legitimacy of it. Or at the very least, you should ask whoever has contacted you to reach out by phone or email so that you can see whether or not they’re from a real company.
Teach Others About Instagram Phishing Scams
There is a reason why scammers continue to use social media scams: They work! Even though most people know better than to fall for them, there are gullible people out there who will fall victim to an Instagram phishing scam without thinking twice about it.
If you’re someone who knows how to spot a phishing scam from a mile away, you should educate those around you about them. You should tell your parents, your siblings, your best friends, and others everything that they’ll need to know to avoid Instagram phishing scams.
If you own a company, you should also advise your employees on how to avoid Instagram phishing scams. You might even want to go as far as to bring in an IT security company to provide phishing training.
Additionally, you should stay up on all of the latest ways in which scammers are trying to run social media scams. By doing this, you’ll be able to continue to teach other people about how to steer clear of an Instagram phishing scam.
Don’t Let an Instagram Phishing Scam Ruin Your Life
If you ever fall for an Instagram phishing scam, it might prove to be little more than a minor inconvenience. As long as you catch onto the scam quickly, you can stop any real damage from being done.
But there are also many people who have their whole worlds turned upside-down by Instagram phishing scams. They lose their personal info, their money, and, in some instances, their trust in the world after falling for a scam. You should avoid becoming one of these people at all costs.
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