The Federal Trade Commission reports that social media scams reached record highs in the first half of 2020, with victims suffering nearly $117 million total losses. In 2016, only a little over 1,000 individuals reported losing money to social media scams. By 2020, that number grew to nearly 16,000. The FBI even issued a warning to Internet users to be even more vigilant about online scams during the pandemic. Sadly, many of the already unfortunate consequences of the pandemic made people even more vulnerable targets for scammers. Whether it’s having to work online, doing all our socializing online, and even attending school online, we’re spending much more time on the Internet than ever. It has almost entirely replaced our in-person interactions. Every minute spent online, and every new account opened, increases one’s chances of being a victim of a scam.
The pandemic also drove many of us to taking desperate measures to soothe loneliness and depression, from impulsively online dating to making spontaneous purchases. It’s been open season for scammers. Before you click on something that looks too good to be true, or engage in messages with someone new, be aware of these Instagram scams that are going around.
Getting a new brand off the ground is nearly impossible without the use of social media, and you can use all the help you can get in gaining followers and getting some traction. So when an account DMs you, claiming to have several accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers and offering to promote your page for a mere…$25 or…$100, it sounds pretty good, right? It’s just like paying for advertising, which is a regular part of doing business, isn’t it? Just hold on a second. Often, these accounts with “hundreds of thousands of followers” have fake followers themselves, so while you think you’re paying to get your brand in front of thousands of engaged viewers, you’re actually paying for nothing. You’ll notice this if you go to one of the accounts and see the actual posts have little to no engagement, even though the page allegedly has 200K followers.