How to Spot an Instagram Cryptocurrency Scam and Reduce Bitcoin Fraud on Social Media
Despite all the efforts to sustain crypto fraud — some of which even led to the near-death of the ICO model — scammers are still finding new ways to trick new, unsuspecting investors and traders. Most of their efforts include social networks, where they would try to get in contact with as many aspiring investors as possible and offer them luxury brands at low prices.
Even if the investors suspect something, the desire to make a profit using crypto often clouds their judgment and they convince themselves that the offer is real. The most recent wave of these scams was noticed on Instagram, which is why we have decided to create a list of signs that might indicate that your Instagram crypto deal might be a scam. Here is what you should do in order to avoid being tricked during your Instagram sessions.
Avoid New Crypto Fraud Campaigns on Instagram
1) Remain Skeptical
It is known that high-end products tend to have a certain price, which is why the offer to buy them at a discount ends up being so alluring in the first place. However, no one would sell it at an 80-90% discount without an extremely important reason. Potential buyers have the right to ask what that reason might be, and if it doesn't sound legitimate enough, it is better to simply avoid the offer than to end up losing the money.
2) Ask for Different Photos
It is common for scammers to not even own the product they are offering, and instead, they tend to find a photo or two online and present it to their would-be victims. Because of that, if there is any reason to suspect that something is not right, users can and should request additional photos of the product in question, such as different angles and a more precise view.
If the offer is real, the seller will likely comply with the request. If it is not, they will refuse as they have no other choice.
3) Carefully Review the Photos
This step is closely connected to the previous one, and reviewing the photos provided by the seller with extreme care might indicate that something is wrong. For example, as mentioned earlier, scammers tend to obtain photos from the internet instead of taking their own. This allows users a unique opportunity to check whether or not the same photo appeared somewhere else by using free ‘reverse image search' tools online.
If the search brings up the exact same photo used on different accounts, that is certainly a reason for suspicion, if not to instantly abandon the deal.
4) Pay with the Card
Whether debit or credit card, it does not particularly matter in this situation — if the seller claims that they are the owner or a representative of a company, they must have a payment method, displayed on their website's payment page. Users should ask for a bank account to which to send the funds, and even if the scammer says that they are moving between accounts — the banks will know what to do, and transactions will end up in the right account almost immediately. This means that their excuse is not a valid one and that something might be wrong.
This method allows for a certain level of security, as most banks allow a possibility to fill out a chargeback, and most of the time, customers can do so within 120 days of the initial payment they wish to reverse. The chargeback can be used in cases where the merchandise arrived in bad conditions, or the item does not look as described, or even if it doesn't arrive at all.
However, it should be noted that it will not work in cases where fiat currencies were exchanged in cryptocurrencies, as blockchain transactions themselves cannot be reversed.
5) Avoid Crypto Payments or Wiring the Money
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to paying for products is to avoid bank wires and crypto transactions, as they cannot be reversed, as mentioned in the previous step. Whenever there are multiple payment options, it is better to always go for a credit/debit card, or any other method apart from wiring the money or paying via crypto.
6) Check if the Crypto Broker Has Connections to E-Commerce
Scammers rarely use anything that belongs to them, as mentioned on the example of product photos. However, the same is true even for the names they use, and they often tend to ‘steal' the names of legitimate crypto brokers. If there is any reason to doubt the deal or the seller, users should contact the crypto exchange provider and ask for a confirmation, as these providers typically do not deal with e-commerce.
7) Report the Account
If you suspect that something may be wrong, do not forget to flag the account and report it to both, the app as well as the law enforcement authorities. It is possible to report the incident via the web as well, which means that users should do it as soon as possible. Also, users should keep in mind that scammers constantly change their tactics and that they should be on the lookout even if there are no signs described here during their business dealings.