How the scam works:
(with video below) Instagram is the latest in social networking trends. People can share pictures with captions of whatever it is they are doing at the moment. But with their overnight explosion comes the scammers trying to take advantage of Instagram users.
There are three variations of the Instagram Scam:
Scenario 1: Money Flipping (with video).
In this variation, scammers approach Instagramers with proposals of making money online, using the term 'Money flipping'. Watch the video below to see this scam exposed!
Scenario 2: Free Stuff
Basically a phishing scam, fake accounts are being created that resemble those of major brand stores and restaurants. Some examples are Jet Blue, Ray-Ban, Best Buy, Chipotle, Delta, American Airlines, WestJet, Lulu Lemon, Southwest Airlines, Apple, British Aiways, Nike, JB Hi-Fi, etc.
These fake accounts offer coupons, flights, or deals in exchange for likes, shares, follows and comments containing your email address so that you can claim your freebies and "giveaways". Of course, you receive nothing and you have now given away your personal identification to the scammers.
The difference between this scam and typical run of the mill phishing scams is the level of sophistication of the communications. The scammers make sure the URL is close to the brand name URL, fooling many people into believing it is a legitimate offer. They also use real offers ran previously by the company to further enforce the belief that they are the real thing.
Scenario 3: Scholarships (with video).
This variation of the scam comes as an educational support for young students. Crooks present scholarship opportunities, such as 'Solomon Jackson Fund'. Watch the video below to see this scam exposed.
How to avoid:
The only real line of defense is the same for this scam than every other “something for nothing” phishing scam. Make sure to contact the company and verify the offer’s legitimacy. Most larger corporations have entire departments dedicated to handling the influx of requests for these special offers; don’t ever feel like you are bothering an employee by making a verification. It is well worth your time to protect your personal identification. Also, if you use reloadable cards such as MoneyPak, Green Dot, Vanilla Reload, or Ukash - never give the account numbers to anyone.
If you really are into redeeming free stuff online, use only legitimate companies. One of the most trustworthy service out there is Swagbucks.com, which is the world's largest free online rewards program. You get paid by doing things online which you might do anyway, such as searching the web, discover products, take surveys, watch videos, or play games. The company has a A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. It takes a minute to register, but the rewards are great. You can register for free HERE.
You can find over 800 other scams like this by downloading our Scam Detector app on your cell phone.
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