Instagram and Bitcoin have some stuff in common. Both are relative newcomers to the digital space, and both have experienced unprecedented growth in recent times. Instagram started life in 2010 as a simple mobile app for sharing photos and videos, but it’s grown to become much more than that. It’s now one of the most popular social media platforms, with over a billion people using Instagram every month
Meanwhile, since its launch in 2009, Bitcoin has grown from nothing to become the world’s most important digital currency. As of early 2021, it’s estimated to have a market capitalization of over $600 billion.
The phenomenal rise of these two digital platforms has attracted huge numbers of subscribers and investors – and regrettably, huge numbers of scammers too. So here’s the dangerous truth in 2021 about Instagram Bitcoin scams.
How did dating site scams originate?
Users of Instagram tend to be young, tech-savvy, and fashionable, with over 60% of the demographic falling between the ages of 18 and 34. Fans of Instagram love it because it’s so up-to-the-minute, full of cool celebrities and on-trend influencers, plus it’s easy to shop there.
But the same things that make Instagram so appealing to subscribers also make it attractive to scammers. In the fast-moving world of Instagram, it’s all too easy to be taken in by bogus get-rich-quick schemes, fake profiles or celebrity endorsements, fantastic giveaways that are anything but, and fake luxury goods at unbelievable prices. Often the scammers take advantage of the young age and relative inexperience of Instagrammers. Moreover, the platform’s popularity also gives crooks the opportunity to reach a wide audience with ease.
Many scams on Instagram involve the best-known cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The secretive, unregulated nature of Bitcoin lends itself to fraud: once the transaction is done, it’s notoriously difficult – or even impossible – to track where your money has gone. And because cryptocurrencies are still a relatively new area, many people have little experience of how they work, making them even more susceptible to scammers.
The frauds are as creative and varied as Instagram itself. Bitcoin scams on Instagram come in all shapes and sizes, from fraudulent bitcoin mining schemes to phishing, from counterfeit or non-existent goods to Ponzi pyramid schemes, from blackmail to wallet thefts. And as Bitcoin grows in popularity, so do the scams. Reports state that cryptocurrency-related crimes added up to a staggering $2.6 billion in 2020, albeit that figure is down on 2019’s record number.
So what can you do to make sure you don’t fall for an Instagram Bitcoin scam? The younger generation might not care to admit it, but all the old cliches apply. Prevention is better than cure. Let the buyer beware. And the old favorite: if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Above and beyond the trusted, old-fashioned advice, there are also a number of simple steps you can take to stay safe. Often, there are common warning signs, plus if you’re aware of what form the scams take, it can help you to avoid them. And even if you do get scammed, there may still be a way to get your Bitcoins back. Read on to learn more.
How can you tell a Bitcoin scammer on Instagram?
If it was easy to spot a Bitcoin scammer on Instagram, then no-one would ever get ripped off. The sad fact is that many scammers are brilliant at what they do, devising sophisticated and highly convincing frauds. That said, once you know what to look for, it becomes easier to differentiate between genuine and rogue operators.
Online scammers use a range of techniques and tactics to try and ensnare their victims. Many of these methods apply to all social media platforms, not just Instagram. So here’s some advice on how to identify Bitcoin scam Instagram fraudsters, and what you can do to avoid being taken in:
- Don’t fall for the hype: Often scammers will make inflated promises or offer unreal returns. Be especially wary of contacts who pressurize you with short-term offers saying that you’ll miss out unless you sign up there and then. In cases like this, you’ll often see a rogue login link – so don’t be tempted!
- Look beyond the flashy images: An Instagram post, a company profile, or a website may look sleek and sophisticated, but that doesn’t mean that it’s genuine. Watch out for cloned profiles and scam websites that look like the real thing.
- Take a step back: ask yourself why a celebrity would back a Bitcoin scheme. There’s a long history of fake celebrity endorsements on all social media channels, including Instagram.
- Watch out for bad grammar or poor spelling: Genuine companies will take the time to get this right, whereas scammers often fail to look after the small details. Often once you spot one minor mistake, other warning signs will become readily apparent.
- Take care what you share: Be on your guard with any companies who ask you for personal or private information upfront. Never share any of your financial details unless you are 100% certain that the company is genuine.
- Be cynical: if a stranger starts following you, ask yourself why.
- Trust your intuition: If something doesn’t feel right, it generally isn’t. Don’t be wise after the event: the world is full of people who let their heads rule over their hearts!
Common Bitcoin scams on Instagram:
Bitcoin Instagram scams take many forms. Here are some of the more common types:
- Phishing: there are plenty of Instagram scammers out there trying to collect (or phish for) your personal information, such as codes, passwords, or login details. Common tactics include impersonating the Bitcoin brand, or offering supposedly useful services once you’ve entered your details. Remember, never, ever share your private Bitcoin key.
- Fake exchanges: watch out for fake exchanges that buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Some actually appear to trade legitimately for a while before vanishing. It’s an obvious thing to say but only work with trusted, genuine exchanges.
- Mining scams: Bitcoin mining scams on Instagram are a popular form of fraud. People are taken in by the chance to come together and use their collective power to “mine” for and be rewarded, with new Bitcoins. In reality, many of the companies offering this service are simply a front to take your money from you.
- Flipping: with flipping, companies promise to flip your investment right back to you with amazing returns. So they’ll exchange your Bitcoins at a great rate once you’ve paid a joining fee, or they’ll return them almost instantly with amazing interest. Except, of course, they simply disappear once you’ve sent them your money.
- Pyramid schemes: Remember Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme, with fantastic returns until the pyramid comes crashing down? Well, Instagram has been home to many similar frauds. You have been warned!
- Digital wallet thefts: a digital wallet is where you hold cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Many wallet operators are genuine, but some aren’t – so be careful where you keep your Bitcoins and don’t share your private key.
What happens if you fall victim to an Instagram Bitcoin scam?
One of the advantages of using payment forms like PayPal or a credit card is that you may have some form of a comeback if you’re ripped off. But that’s not the case with cryptocurrencies: if you’ve fallen victim to an Instagram Bitcoin scam, that’s it – your money’s gone forever.
Or is it? It might surprise you to learn that in certain cases, you may actually be able to get your money back. Regulators across the world have woken up to what’s happening in the crypto space, and are starting to get their act together. But perhaps more significantly, a number of dedicated funds recovery companies – such as Payback – have developed the relevant skills and tools to go after scammers and get back monies that have been taken fraudulently.
Here at Payback, we’ve been helping victims of online fraud since 2008, and we’ve brought all our experience and knowledge together to help victims of Bitcoin Instagram scams. We have a specialist team of technical, financial, and legal experts who have an unrivaled track record in recovering stolen Bitcoins.
We know how the cybercriminals operate, what steps they take to cover their tracks, and where to look for clues. Despite what you may have heard, nothing is completely anonymous online, and with Payback on your side, you may be able to recover what you thought was gone forever. Because we only ever take on cases we think we can win, we have a highly impressive success rate. So if you’ve been adversely affected by an Instagram Bitcoin scam, why not give us a call – you might be in for a pleasant surprise.