How to spot an Instagram Money Flipping Scam

Instagram is a social media giant and it continues to grow in popularity amongst all age groups. In fact, it recently hit 1 billion users. However, it’s humble origins as a mere picture sharing platform now  seems a distant memory as today it is heavily used by influencers and agencies to promote services and products.

As somewhat of a consequence of this, the number of scams appearing on the site have increased. Criminals are harder to spot and can easily disguise themselves amongst the legitimate profiles. Even the disastrous Fyre Festival used Instagram as its platform to prise money from people.

One of the most popular scams on Instagram is ‘money flipping’ otherwise known as ‘get rich quick’. As a general rule, it is usually safe to assume that anyone who posts pictures of money or talks about investment opportunities is probably trouble. The term refers to a con in which criminals convince their victims to hand over access to funds with the promise that they will multiply their value via a trick they know, in return for a share of the profits. They then abscond with the sum, leaving their target out of pocket.

These scams are so successful in fooling people on Instagram, partly due to the fact they are congregated around the official accounts for banks and other financial institutions. In fact, research suggests hashtags connected to 37 different financial institutions are specifically targeted by criminals.

Usually the scammer will send a direct message to those who comment on, or even just follow, official banking accounts, offering to cut them in on a deal. Great lengths are gone to in order to look and sound genuine. As well as profiles full of images of flashy watches and piles of cash, scammers concoct elaborate back stories. As Instagram makes it possible for people to send you direct messages without them also following you, it is easy to see why Instagram is so popular for scammers. The ease and speed with which social media sites like Instagram operate means victims are much more likely to be lured into the scheme.

Even though receiving a message along the lines of “Hey are you interested in making some extra cash?” may seem obviously fake in nature, there are other indicators that show this could be a fake. One of these is the overuse of hashtags. In general, each post made by a money flipper will contain as many hashtags as Instagram will allow (30), in order to reach the most amount of people possible. The two most popular hashtags being #fastcash and #money.

Of course, if you are contacted by an account you believe to be a money flipping scam there are various steps you can take. You must report the account to Instagram, block the messages and NEVER give out your bank account or debit card details to someone you don’t know. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.