New Cryptocurrency Fraud Wave Hits Instagram
According to global news websites, Forbes, a new wave of cryptocurrency fraud has recently hit the social media platform, Instagram. Swedish users appear to be the current primary target, and while the platform is more commonly used for photo-sharing, the latest unscrupulous posts aim to trick Instagram users into buying luxury products which are never delivered by transferring cryptocurrency to the seller’s account.
Both sources from Swedish Law Enforcement and cryptocurrency exchange platforms believes that the fraudsters are targeting Instagram users of around 25 years of age. And, although some cases have been reported to the police, the problem continues to occur.
The posts showing luxury products from high-end brands including Apple, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci come from newly-created social media profiles which have recently received a large number of new followers. They advertise goods for spot prices of between €50 and €300, and once an interested reader makes contact with the seller via DM, they’re tricked into exchanging fiat currency to cryptocurrency.
The fraudulent sellers have been known to give the purchaser excuses such as having recently changed banks or moved to a different country so that the transaction cannot be complete via bank transfer. To get around the “issue”, the buyers are told that they must act quickly due to the considerable interest from other customers and should consider using a cryptocurrency exchange to complete the purchase by making a payment to the seller’s digital cryptocurrency wallet address.
Once payment has been made, the seller stops replying to messages before deleting their social media profile and then creates a new Instagram account under a different alias with a view to starting the process all over again with other unsuspecting users.
For anyone who’s concerned about becoming a victim to the Instagram cryptocurrency fraud, the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Swedish Police recommends that users do their homework before making any online purchases on the social media platform. Checks should include asking the buyer why they are selling luxury items at such a big discount, other photographs of the item such as a close-up view or a picture taken from a particular angle, and using free-of-charge reverse image searches to see if the photo has been used before. Other suggested measures include insisting on paying via debit or credit card and avoiding wiring money or sending cryptocurrency.
Although Instagram says that it has already blocked some accounts that have been proved to be fraudulent and promises that it “proactively fights against this type of content” while working quickly to detect and remove posts that violate its community guidelines, some people have accused the social media network of not reacting or providing assistance fast enough.
For example, a spokesperson for a popular Nordic-based cryptocurrency exchange says that it’s been quick to flag suspicious Instagram accounts reported to it by its users. However, they believe that due to Instagram’s slow customer service, the extra fraud reports increase the backlog that both the Swedish police and the social media platform need to tackle.
By Laura Kilby