Social media can be both a blessing and a curse in every sense, including when it comes to competitions online. Scammers utilise various social media platforms to trick users into believing their legitimacy. This is also the case with free Instagram competitions. Let’s take a look at what scammers are doing and how you can spot this fraudulent behaviour.
How The Scam Surrounding Online Competitions Works
The biggest issue surrounding scammers and online competitions at the moment is how genuine, free competitions and giveaways are being targeted by fraudulent users on Instagram. Instagram is a highly popular and incredibly influential social media platform, so it isn’t hard to see how this has become a problem.
Scammers will impersonate genuine organisers of online competitions and set up identical accounts to trick users into believing they are the real deal. They will then make similar posts to the genuine competition accounts. The scammers will then contact those who have entered on the GENUINE post. Often they will send the Instagram user a DM and pretend that they have won the grand prize. Then they ask you to click on a link to provide your sensitive, personal information such as your banking or credit card details.
Although these accounts can be removed from Instagram if reported, it seems that more and more will keep cropping up to replace them. The scam seems to have increased tenfold as of late. This is likely due to the increase in online activity as a result of people working from home more as well as desperate people yearning to win a prize following the financial devastation caused by Covid19.
These people will often be financially vulnerable – again, exacerbated by the pandemic- and so it is essential that you report any suspicious Instagram accounts that you come across and do what you can to protect yourselves from these fraudsters.
How To Avoid Fraudsters When Entering Free Instagram Competitions
There are various ways that you can protect yourself online to ensure that you don’t get sucked in by these scammers. It’s easier than you might think to fall for their fraudulent plans! Here is what you can do to stay safe and avoid scams surrounding online competitions.
- Make sure that if you see an account that seems suspicious; report it to Instagram straight away. Even if you’re not 100% sure it is a scam, Instagram can determine whether they are fraudulent users.
- Don’t just double check the accounts of the online completion organisers that you use. Triple and quadruple check them! Only use them if you’re completely sure that they are legitimate. You could always message the organisers if you want to clarify anything or query their legitimacy.
- NEVER click any links that are messaged to you via Instagram. These could be viruses that could irreparably damage your computer or device.
- And finally, NEVER give your bank details or credit card information to anybody over Instagram. Legitimate competition organisers will never ask for this. If you were to win an online competition, the organisers would likely message you asking for details such as your address or your email. They will not want your financial information.
Well there you have it. This scam is doing the rounds on Instagram at the moment and a lot of people are getting caught out. Make sure that you protect yourself – as well as friends and family – when perusing competitions on Instagram.