The Dark Side of Money on Instagram: Scams and Pitfalls to Avoid

Updated: March 18, 2023
by TJ Salvatore

The desire for recognition is a strong motivator in social networks. People often post, comment, and share their thoughts and experiences to get attention from their peers or followers. This need for approval can manifest itself in positive ways; people may seek to build relationships and create meaningful connections through online interaction. But it can also lead to vanity-driven behaviors such as sharing overly glamorous photos or bragging about material possessions.

The Dark Side of Money on Instagram: Scams and Pitfalls to Avoid

Scammers on Instagram take advantage of it - prey on users who are eager to get online validation. They often create fake accounts pretending to be celebrities or influencers, hoping that people will follow them in exchange for "free giveaways" and other offers. Or they may even post comments encouraging you to send them money or provide confidential information to access certain services or products. 

It’s easy to fall for those friendly tactics - we should all remember that no legitimate business would ever ask a customer for sensitive personal data like bank account numbers or passwords through social media platforms like Instagram.

The Dangers of Instagram Scams

If you communicate genuinely and honestly with users online, then you will have significantly less chance of being scammed

If you choose to believe in any user you don't know on social media platforms, such as Instagram, you are at risk of being scammed. 

Social networks including Instagram provide an open platform for users to connect and share information without the need for a third-party verification process. As a result, it can be difficult to determine who is actually legitimate and trustworthy and who may have malicious intentions. Therefore, when interacting with people online, always be sure to use caution before accepting their offers or sharing any personal details with them.

Blue Badge Scams

The Instagram blue badge is a symbol that denotes a verified account, which means that Instagram has confirmed that the account is authentic and belongs to the person or brand it claims to represent. As such, it is highly sought after by many users who want to boost their credibility and increase their visibility on the platform.

However, there have been instances where scammers have tried to take advantage of this desire for verification by creating fake Instagram accounts that offer to sell the blue badge to unsuspecting users. These scammers may claim to be Instagram representatives or affiliated with the platform in some way, and they may ask for personal information or payment in exchange for the verification badge.

You know that Elon Musk sells Twitter verification badges, but Instagram does not sell them, and any offer to purchase one is likely a scam. Additionally, Instagram will never ask for your personal information or payment in exchange for verification.

If you come across a suspicious account or offer related to the Instagram blue badge, just don't hesitate to report it to Instagram immediately. To do so, go to the user's profile, click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner, and select "Report." You can then choose the reason for your report and provide any additional information.

It's also a good idea to educate yourself on Instagram's policies and procedures related to verification, so you can spot a scam more easily. You can find more information on Instagram's verification process on the platform's Help Center.

Clone Scams

One type of Instagram scam involves someone creating a fake account that looks similar to a real person or brand. This is known as "cloning" or "impersonation."

The scammer may use the fake account to trick people into following or engaging with them, and may even use the account to ask for money or personal information. They may also use the account to post malicious links or content that could harm your device or steal your information.

There are a few different types of scams that Instagram users should be aware of. One type of scam is when someone creates a fake account that looks similar to a real person or brand. They may use this account to follow people and like their photos to gain their trust. Once they have gained your trust, they may ask you for money or personal information.

Phishing Scams

Phishing Scam

Phishing scams on Instagram typically involve fraudulent attempts to trick users into revealing sensitive information such as their usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, or other personal information. Scammers create fake Instagram accounts that look legitimate, often by copying the branding and design of real accounts and use these accounts to send messages or emails to users with the intent of deceiving them into sharing their personal information.

Fake Giveaway

One common form of a phishing scam on Instagram is the "fake giveaway" scam. In this scam, the scammer creates a fake Instagram account and claims to be running a giveaway. They offer a prize, such as a luxury handbag or a vacation package, and ask users to follow their account, like their posts, and tag friends in the comments in order to enter the giveaway. The scammer then asks users to click on a link to a third-party website to claim their prize. This website is usually a fake login page that looks like Instagram's login page but is designed to steal users' login credentials.

Fake Account Verification Requests

Another common phishing scam on Instagram is the "account verification" scam. The scammer sends a message or email to a user claiming to be from Instagram's "security team." The message says that the user's account has been flagged for suspicious activity, and asks the user to click on a link to verify their account. The link leads to a fake login page that is designed to steal the user's login credentials.

To protect yourself from phishing scams on Instagram, it's stupid not to be cautious about clicking on links from unknown sources and never provide your login credentials or other personal information to anyone you don't trust.

Illuminati Scams

Illuminati Scams

The Instagram Illuminati scam is a hoax that has been circulating on the platform for several years. The scam typically involves an Instagram account that claims to be affiliated with the Illuminati, a secret society that is rumored to control world events.

The scammer may offer to make the user a member of the Illuminati in exchange for money or personal information. They may also claim that becoming a member of the Illuminati will bring the user wealth, fame, or other benefits.

In reality, the Illuminati is a fictional organization that has been the subject of many conspiracy theories over the years. There is no evidence to suggest that the Illuminati is a real organization, and any offer to join it is likely a scam.

If you come across an Instagram account that claims to be affiliated with the Illuminati or offers to make you a member in exchange for money or personal information, report it to the admin immediately.

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Follower Scams

Instagram follower scams are a common occurrence on the platform. These scams often involve accounts that claim to offer followers in exchange for payment or personal information.

In some cases, these accounts may be run by bots or fake users that are created solely to follow other accounts. This practice is known as "follower farming" or "botting," and it violates Instagram's terms of service. Other scams may involve accounts that offer to promote your account to their followers in exchange for payment, but then fail to deliver on their promises.

Be cautious when dealing with accounts that offer to sell followers or promote your account. In general, it's best to avoid these types of services altogether. Not only are they often scams, but they can also harm your account's reputation and credibility.

Forex Scams

Instagram Forex scams are a type of investment scam that targets users on the platform with offers of quick and easy profits through trading in the foreign exchange (Forex) market. These scams typically involve accounts that claim to be experts in Forex trading and offer to manage your investments on your behalf.

In many cases, these accounts may promise guaranteed returns or use high-pressure tactics to convince you to invest large sums of money. Once you make a deposit, however, the scammer may disappear or provide false information about your investments to keep your money.

Before investing any money, research the account thoroughly and look for reviews or feedback from other users. Check the account's followers and engagement to make sure they are legitimate and avoid accounts that use high-pressure tactics or make unrealistic promises.

Romance Scams

Romance Scams

Instagram romance scams are a type of online fraud in which a scammer creates a fake profile on Instagram and poses as a potential romantic partner. The scammer may use attractive profile pictures and charming messages to lure the victim into a false sense of security and gain their trust.

Once the scammer has established a relationship with the victim, they may ask for money or personal information, such as bank account or credit card details. They may claim to need the money for a variety of reasons, such as medical bills, travel expenses, or to start a business.

Just be suspicious of anyone when communicating on Instagram or other online platforms. Be wary of anyone who asks for money or personal information, particularly if you have never met them in person. Remember that scammers often use emotional manipulation to gain your trust, so be wary of anyone who seems too good to be true.

If you suspect that you may be the victim of an Instagram romance scam, stop all communication with the person immediately and report their profile to Instagram. You can report the profile by going to the user's profile, clicking the three dots in the upper right-hand corner, and selecting "Report." You can then choose the reason for your report and provide any additional information.

It's also a good idea to report the scam to your local law enforcement agency and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This can help to prevent other people from falling victim to the same scam in the future.

How To Avoid Being Scammed on Instagram

It's no secret that Instagram is full of scammers. These scammers are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting users by promising them free stuff, or by asking for personal information.

Here's what you can do to avoid being scammed on Instagram:

Don't click on links in comments or DMs: 

Scammers will often put links in comments or DMs, promising free stuff or asking for personal information. If you click on these links, you may be taken to a fake website that looks like Instagram but is actually designed to steal your information.

Don't give out personal information: 

Scammers will often ask for personal information like your email address or phone number. They may even promise to send you something if you give them this information. However, giving out personal information can lead to identity theft and other problems.

Be careful about who you follow:

Following someone on Instagram doesn't mean they're your friend. In fact, many scammers create fake accounts and use them to follow people so they can DM them with links or requests for personal information. So be careful about who you follow, and don't blindly trust anyone on Instagram.

Report suspicious activity: 

If you see something suspicious on Instagram, don't hesitate to report it to the platform so they can take action against the account involved. You can also block accounts that are sending you unwanted messages or trying to scam you in some way.

What To Do If You've Been Scammed on Instagram

If you believe you have been scammed on Instagram, here are the steps you can take;

Stop all communication with the scammer:

If you have been communicating with the scammer, stop all contact immediately. Do not send any more money or provide any personal information.

Report the scam to Instagram:

You can report the scam by going to the scammer's profile, clicking the three dots in the upper right-hand corner, and selecting "Report." You can then choose the reason for your report and provide any additional information.

Report the scam to your bank or credit card company:

If you have provided the scammer with your bank or credit card information, contact your bank or credit card company immediately to report the fraud and dispute any unauthorized transactions.

Report the scam to law enforcement:

If you have lost money or believe that a crime has been committed, report the scam to your local law enforcement agency.

Educate yourself:

Scammers are always coming up with new tactics, stay informed about the latest scams and how to protect yourself. FTC offers resources and information on how to avoid scams and what to do if you have been a victim.

Remember that scammers are skilled at using emotional manipulation and deception to trick their victims. Don't blame yourself for being scammed and don't be afraid to seek help and support if you need it.

First, report the account to Instagram. You can do this by;

  1. Going to the profile of the person who scammed you,
  2. Pressing the three dots in the top right corner, and
  3. Selecting β€œReport”.

File a complaint:

Next, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC takes complaints about companies, businesses, and services. 

You can also reach out to your bank or credit card company if you have been scammed and ask them to reverse any fraudulent charges. 

And of course, tell others about what happened so they can be aware of the scam and avoid it themselves.

How To Make Money On Instagram

There are several ways to make money on Instagram, but remember that building a successful and profitable account takes time and effort. Here are some strategies you can consider:

  1. Sponsored posts: You can make money on Instagram by partnering with brands and creating sponsored posts. These posts are typically paid for by the brand and may involve promoting a product or service in your content.
  2. Affiliate marketing: With affiliate marketing, you can earn a commission by promoting products or services on your Instagram account. When your followers click on a link and make a purchase, you receive a percentage of the sale.
  3. Sell products or skills: If you have your own products or skills to sell, you can promote them on Instagram and drive traffic to your website or online store.
  4. Influencer marketing: As an influencer, you can make money by collaborating with other brands and businesses to promote their products or services to your followers.
  5. Crowdfunding: If you have a unique idea or project, you can use crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise money from your Instagram followers.
  6. Digital products: You can create and sell digital products such as e-books, courses, or templates on your Instagram account.

To make money on Instagram, have a clear and consistent brand identity, engage with your followers, and create high-quality content that resonates with your audience. Be transparent about any sponsored posts or affiliate links and follow Instagram's guidelines for advertising and promotions. The number of followers will increase naturally. Don't think about the numbers. Think about the connections!

The Dark Side of Money on Instagram: Conclusion

While there are many benefits to making money on Instagram, there are also some risks. Scammers can create fake accounts and post fake offers of payment, leading you to believe you're earning money when you're actually not. They may also ask for personal information, such as your bank account number or Social Security number, which could be used to steal your identity.

To avoid being scammed, only work with brands or people you know and trust. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of any agreements before you sign them. And never give out personal information online unless you're absolutely sure it's safe to do so.

If you're careful and use common sense, you can make money on Instagram without putting yourself at risk.

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About the author 

TJ Salvatore

A freelancer. A nomad. LGBTQ and animal rights activist. Love meeting new people, exploring new styles of living, new technologies and gadgets, new ways of making money.

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