Tips for Safeguarding Your Instagram Account from Scam Artists
Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world right now. What started out as a simple photo-sharing app has now become a profitable option for social media influencers operating across a diverse array of niches. Unfortunately, the money that Instagram influencers are making has attracted the attention of many malicious scam artists. Users who aren’t aware of the prevalent scams on the platform are prone to getting their accounts hacked, and in the worst case scenario, their money stolen.
Why you should be worried about Instagram scams?
There are several Instagram scams that are primarily about gaining likes and followers. While these scams are fraudulent, the only bad thing that comes out of them is that the scammers’ pages become more credible. In the long run, these scams don’t do a lot of damage to users. However, there are many other scams whose sole objective is to steal people’s personal information. Compared to the former scams, these scams are far more dangerous. Once users’ personal information is stolen, the scammers can use that information to indulge in illegal activities without the users’ knowledge.
Instagram also allows financial transactions these days, which makes it possible for scammers to steal details of credit cards, debit cards, and digital payment wallets. Even though the folks at Facebook do everything possible to make Instagram secure, users can still fall prey to scammers if they aren’t careful.
The top safeguarding tips
The scammers may take their own sweet time to build rapports with users, and then trap them when they are at their most vulnerable. However, there are a few ways through which Instagram users can safeguard their accounts. So, if you’re an Instagram user who relies on the platform for your livelihood, read on to know the most helpful tips for safeguarding your Insta account from scammers.
1. Only respond to messages that come from verified accounts
Verified accounts on Instagram have blue ticks next to their usernames, but Instagram fake accounts don’t. So, if you receive a message from an unverified account, don’t respond to it. Simply put, the blue ticks reflect the authenticity of users and brands. You can also conduct a background check on a suspicious brand or user by searching for their official websites. If the brand has an official Instagram account, it’ll be clearly mentioned on their website. However, if it doesn’t have one, you’ve probably received a message from a scammer pretending to be the brand.
2. Monitor your followers
On Instagram, both users and brands are always on the lookout to increase the count of their followers. More Instagram followers means more prominence and the potential to strike more lucrative deals. However, when you allow strangers to follow your Instagram account, you raise the risks of being scammed. Be particularly on the lookout for strangers who are trying to build relationships or gain your trust. If you get a hint of anything suspicious, waste no time in blocking strangers. Also, it’s wise to be wary of strangers who don’t have any mutual followers in common with you.
3. Be careful when responding to strange messages from known followers
Your followers’ Instagram accounts are as likely to fall prey to scams as yours. So, if you receive a suspicious message from followers that you know personally, it’s time to exercise caution. In such a scenario, your best bet would be to reach out to the followers directly and ask them to confirm whether it was them who sent the suspicious messages. If they don’t recall sending those messages, you should ask them to take action immediately. They could report their respective accounts alongside warning the users and brands that follow them and the ones that are followed by them.
4. Don’t log into your Insta account through messages
One of the most popular Instagram account phishing methods is to send links to users asking them to log into their accounts by clicking on the links. If you see a lucrative offer in the message, you’d be tempted to click on the link. However, chances are that clicking on this link will hand over your login credentials to a scammer. So, whenever you have to log into your Instagram account, use the official app or URL. We recommend sticking to the same practice for logging into all your social media and email accounts.
5. Enable multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication is an impressive security feature that’s available across most major social media websites. However, it’s typically not enabled by default. The feature works by authenticating account logins through a secondary checkpoint. For example, you may be required to enter a one-time password (OTP) sent to your phone after you enter your login credentials. This ensures that the individual logging into your account is no one but you. Most apps and websites offer a number of multi-factor authentication options such as email, text message, biometrics, and in-app prompts. So you can choose the most convenient option at your disposal.
6. Block accounts that ask for personal information
If you suddenly receive a message that says you’ll get something special in exchange of personal information, you should block the account that sent it. Irrespective of how enticing the offer might feel, giving into such advances will almost inevitably lead you down a slippery slope. Don’t even bother to get a conversation going with such individuals, because if the first thing they ask for is your bank account details, the only thing they really want is your money. You may also encounter some messages that ask you to pay for a product or service. Before parting with your critical information, make sure that both the product and the seller are genuine.
7. Use premium anti-virus
This might be the most obvious point on this list of tips, but you’d be surprised to know there are many users who access the internet without a high-quality anti-virus software. While there are loads of free options on offer, we recommend purchasing a premium anti-virus software. Its security features would help you steer clear of trouble, especially if you accidentally end up clicking on a link with malware embedded in it. These days, many anti-virus software developers are also offering subscription-based services. So, if you want a pocket-friendly option, these subscription-based services are the way to go.
Types of Instagram scams to be aware of
Apart from Instagram account phishing, where scammers extract personal information from users and their followers, there are some other scams that have surfaced on Instagram. Let’s take a closer look at them:
- Investment scams: Fake investment schemes on Instagram target users by asking them to invest in fake services and products. The scammers typically ask users to invest a few hundred dollars or pounds. They claim that this money will be used for stock market trading. However, the scammers disappear once users invest their hard-earned money, and in all likelihood, the users won’t get their money back.
- Brand accounts: A fake brand account will typically advertise counterfeit fashion and lifestyle products, promising discounts that are simply too good to be true. The money that a user pays for these products is used by the scammers to purchase followers and likes, which adds further credibility to the business scam.
- Giveaways: Not all giveaways on Instagram are fake. However, some are, and they typically promise non-existent prizes to users who engage with their posts through comments or likes, or follow their pages. The true goal of these scammers is to increase Instagram engagement on their pages, which they exploit to make their scams seem credible on the surface. Giveaways are often combined with phishing scams for stealing personal information.
- Fake lotteries: Fake lottery scams work somewhat like this – the scammers reach out to users claiming that they’ve won a big reward. However, the users are requested by the scammers to cough up a fee for getting the rewards. Once the scammers collect the fee from the users, they disappear.
- Fake subscription offers: The rise of subscription-based services has resulted in numerous fraudulent subscription offers. Scammers lead users into thinking that they’re subscribing for movie or music streaming services. They tend to offer incredible discounts, which tempt users into parting with their money. Once the subscription fees are collected, the users are left high and dry.
- Fraudulent loan schemes: Instagram users who are desperately in need of money are most likely to fall for these fake loan schemes. These schemes involve scammers approaching users with claims of providing instant loans upon the payment of a small fee. However, they don’t provide any load and instead, disappear with the money.
So, now that you know all about the various types of scams that are prevalent on Instagram, we hope you tread the Instagram waters with caution. To conclude this post, we’d like to tell you about the services we offer at mrinsta.com. At mrinsta.com, you can find tools that will allow you to grow your Instagram page through free Instagram likes and followers. So, if you harbor some serious ambitions regarding your journey as an Insta influencer, you can count on us for tangible results.
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