Instagram has become a leading social network to allow users to upload and edit photos, and follow and view other accounts and their Instagram photos. But when popularity comes, scammers often follow.
Picture this: When browsing popular Instagram accounts, you stumble upon a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from a trusted airline. It’s almost as if fate wants you take that all-expenses paid trip to visit old connections.
The airline’s Instagram account is offering a free flight to your next vacation destination. All you have to do to claim the offer is to be one of the first 20,000 followers. And the airline’s Instagram account already has thousands of followers who eagerly await their prize, which makes it seem even more convincing. Unfortunately, thousands are being disappointed.
The people behind the too-good-to-be true offers disguise themselves as legitimate corporations, like American Airlines and Delta. Several mysterious scammers plaguing Instagram are essentially taking thousands of hopeful followers hostage via their fake accounts.
Read what PetaPixel and CNET discovered about some of the Instagram culprits here.
How can you look out for traps created by these social media con artists and spot the fakes?
- Fine print is your friend in this case, and with legit offers you’ll usually see fine print at the bottom of the promotion with a link.
- Look for contact information or for the location for the promotion’s originator.
- Find the rules and regulations section for the promotion, commonly known in legalese as ‘terms and conditions’ – that box that you have to check in order to be eligible.
If you don’t see these elements, you’ve probably spotted a fake.
The good news is that airlines have begun to disclaim specific sources and Instagram is being proactive in deleting the fictional accounts. The moral of the social media story: if promotions seem too good to be true, they probably are.
For more information on fraud on the Internet and beyond, see AARP’s Scams and Fraud page.
Photo Courtesy of PitaPixel