Insta-scams attract followers with promise of free burritos
Lauren Crabbe | Published: Nov 13, 2012 at 16:55 UTC2
Instagram is not immune to the spam accounts and weird scams that have plagued the Internet since the very beginning. No, there is not a Nigerian prince begging you to “follow me! I’ll follow you back!!! <3!” The threats on Instagram are much more familiar.
Scam accounts mimicking familiar companies like Delta Airlines and the Chipotle restaurant chain are getting Instagram users to follow and tag them in thousands of posts for the promise of free burritos and airline tickets.
Other accounts are in the more classic social network spam vein. “Free iPads!” they claim, others advertise free Starbucks coffee. These accounts are a little more obvious, with a slew of numbers and underscores in the handle practically screaming "don't trust me!"
Insta-scams have gotten a bit of press lately. Our photo geek colleagues at Pop Photo exposed the very core of these strange fake accounts.
“Scammers are creating fake accounts to look like those of big brands. They're then creating fake coupons or deals and asking users to follow, like, share and even comment with their email addresses in order to claim the free stuff. Problem is, the free stuff doesn't exist and you just end up giving away your personal info.
At its core, it's basically phishing -- a technique where scammers trick users by making fake websites or email addresses that look like they're from a business or a bank.”
Business Insider looked into the effect of these Instagram scam accounts on the businesses they are impersonating.
“Whether it was a prank that spun out of control or not, there's no telling how much trouble this might spell for airlines in the future.
"It's unclear why these accounts were set up and what the people behind them ultimately hoped to achieve," says CNET's Roger Cheng. "The promise of free flights could lead to headaches for the airlines as duped followers attempt to collect on their reward."
Don’t be fooled by these fake Instagram businesses and always remember: there is no such thing as a free iPad.