We live in an increasingly digitized era, surrounded by gadgets that help us navigate through our day-to-day lives. It won’t be long before cash becomes obsolete and is mentioned in our textbooks. The previous generation used to rely on personal computers to get their jobs done, but now the younger generation is increasingly relying on their Android and iOS-based mobiles. In other words, the power to navigate the world is literally at your fingertips. Scammers also rely on technology to scam their victims, with the latest being Instagram investment scams. Many have fallen victim to it.
There was a time when opening a bank account would require you to personally visit the bank; now it’s all done through your mobile.
Several investment institutions reach out to you on your mobile and offer the best deal available, right from an investment point of view, to actively trade in various financial markets. It has become easier for them to contact and offer their services through several social media platforms. They contact you unsolicitedly through text, email, or even a phone call.
Scammers understand this, and they impersonate financial institutions. Currently, they are offering their bogus services, enticing their victims on social media platforms through fake investment scams Instagram.
According to reports from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), of all the bogus online investment frauds, more than 32% of victims have been the target of Instagram money investment scams.
Compared to the younger generation, who have been exposed to this digital world right from birth, they are quite tech-savvy, and with the rate at which the world is changing, the older generation finds it challenging to do so. Thus, it is quite evident that most of the victims are of the older generation.
Another reason why the older generation falls victim to such scams is a lack of awareness. Since most elders rely on the news that is broadcast on TV sets, they rarely rely on alternative news sources that are quite prevalent online.
Although the majority of the victims are elderly, some are young, and they too sometimes fall victim to such scams. Reasons may vary from being young and having a risk-taking habit to sheer first-time exposure to any online investment opportunities.
In this article, we will shed some light on the bogus investment scams that are rampant on social media platforms, especially on Instagram.
How Instagram investment scams works
As per statistics, there are more than 500 million daily active global users on Instagram, which is closely followed by Facebook. The same data also reveals that in 2021, out of 1.39 billion Instagram users, 87.77% can be reached through ads in the US. Such is the power of Instagram, and since the number of active users is high, the chances of someone saying “I was scammed on Instagram” running on an alternate news source are also high.
Several Instagram scams are rampant online, and in this article, we will help you identify such scams so that you do not fall victim to them.
Instagram Romance Scam
Everybody wants to fall in love; it is one of the most powerful emotions that makes many do crazy things. We have either known someone or have personally been on the receiving end when the romance fails, mostly due to cheating. At least in such cases, we know the person personally.
In a romance scam, victims do not know the identity of their scammers, even when they realize that they have been scammed.
Scammers will impersonate a young, attractive, and overachieving person in their lives. They are usually single and have attractive pictures on their account. Once their victims fall for them, these scammers will cook up any story that they have either been in an abusive relationship or did not get the opportunity to find their person of interest. They can even portray themselves as stuck in some country and needing someone “reliable” to transfer their financial holdings to the victim’s account and be willing to pay a “generous amount” as a token of appreciation.
They might even portray themselves as doing a selfless deed, either as a soldier protecting freedom or working on humanitarian grounds to save countless lives. They may even portray themselves as successive financial advisors with detailed knowledge of even cryptos.
Depending on the persona that they have projected onto their victims, they will try to entice them. They will weave such a web around their victims that they are mesmerized. Initially, these scammers will have a heart-to-heart conversation with their victims, making them believe that they are the ones for whom they have been waiting their entire lives.
Once trust has been established, these scammers will start showing their true intent. When their victims desire to meet them, these scammers will always avoid them by convincing their victims that they are a flight or two away from them or that some unknown emergency has emerged and they cannot meet them in person.
Once these scammers are convinced that they have a good hold on their victims, they will start asking for money in one way or another. Initially, they will start off with less and then demand more and more. The so-called “misery” befalling these scammers is so great that it never seems to end.
In the end, these victims will only realize that they have been scammed when they open up in front of their loved ones. And once they realize that they have been scammed and demand an explanation from their so-called “love interest,” these scammers will conveniently stop entertaining these victims any further, cut off all kinds of communication with them, and move on to entice other victims.
Instagram Lottery Scam
These are “Instagram scams DM,” where scammers will entice their victims through direct messages to their victims. These DMs are aimed at convincing their victims that they have won a sweepstake or a lottery where the prize amount ranges in the millions and sometimes even in the billions.
Many fall for such scams because they view them as a source of easy money. No one will pass up a free pass.
However, there is a catch: to claim the winning amount, you need to pay some money upfront in the form of a fee. Scammers will usually spin up a story and state that they need to pay this amount quickly; otherwise, it might be passed on to the second winner.
Scammers are usually in a hurry to collect the money, and they will let your insecurity creep up and get the best of you by making you fall for their traps.
Instagram Loan Scam
Scammers will contact their victims through fake IG messages. Scammers will offer loans at attractive interest rates and terms. The offer is too good to be true, and given the current market conditions, if someone is offering loans at an attractive rate, then you must exercise caution.
Scammers will boast that they will offer the loan amount instantly with a low-interest rate. However, when the victim makes the first payment, these scammers run away immediately.
Instagram Bogus Investment Scam
Scammers are in the process of luring their victims through various investment scams. They will assure their victims that they can earn a lot of money by investing as much as they can afford to do so.
Scammers will usually impersonate an online broker or a brokerage firm, ensuring that their victims can multiply their wealth. Several such investment opportunities are elaborate Ponzi or pyramid scams. They may even project themselves to “sell” their “financial expertise” to their victims through an online trading platform.
During the initial phase, victims will be thrilled as they observe their wealth being multiplied “on paper” or an elaborate “app.” Convinced that this is a sure-shot way of multiplying their financial holdings, these victims will invest more. When the time comes for the victims to encash or withdraw their earnings, these scammers disappear into thin air.
Such trickery is also prevalent in the crypto world, which is one of the latest financial assets that can be invested in and traded in the crypto market.
Frequently asked questions
Several scammers create and impersonate accounts belonging to celebrities or social media influencers. They will add the same portrait and upload the same photos that the celebrity is using. Every account is unique; thus, if you ever find any extra letter, number, symbol, or character, then you must use caution. Nowadays, crypto scams are also popular among scammers.
It is next to impossible for anyone to hack into your Instagram through DM. However, if the DM has a suspicious link that prompts you to click and takes you to another website, even though it might look genuine, and requests that you fill in the details mentioned there, then that is a problem. You might fall victim to a phishing attack if that website asks for sensitive data from you.
Scammers create fake accounts, impersonating successful investors or traders. They will post videos about their "fake" success. They will try to lure in their victims with these fake promotions of their wealth. Once they have enticed their victim, they will keep the same profile until their victim realizes that they have fallen for a scam.
One of the best ways to protect yourself against Instagram scams is to ask a lot of questions.
When you meet someone on Instagram, ensure that you reveal as few details about yourself as possible. Give your relationship some time before committing yourself to the person. Try to scrutinize every word, and if the person tries to urge you to send some money across, then be on your toes.
If the person tries to give you some financial advice or recommends you invest in some financial schemes, then hear out everything and use your best judgment. The chances that your “love interest” is more interested in your money than you are cannot be denied.
If you are contacted through unsolicited text, message, or direct message on Instagram, then it is wise to exercise caution. Any financial advice you get, ask them to give you in writing about the nature of their financial scheme as well as terms and conditions. Get a hold of your local certified public accountant, or CPA, before committing any investment in the scheme. If the person uses coercive tactics, then it is wise to let go of that financial investment plan.
It would help you a lot if you exercise caution before committing anything; it would save you from heartache and financial burden.