Like Tinder, Instagram is a popular enough app that there have been multiple scams showing up on the service recently. One scam is as basic as it gets, as it promises money.
Profiles began popping up around April belonging to so-called lottery winners in both the US and the UK, and they post pictures of the "winning" tickets. The poster writes below the image that he just won millions of dollars and intends to donate a thousand dollars to each of the first 80,000 people that follow him. All they have to do, of course, is leave a comment with their email address.
"I thought, it's got to be a joke, these people can't believe this is going to happen," says Narang. "But I go and look on the comments and I see that people are posting their emails! Do you honestly think this guy is going to send people money just for following him? Yeah, they do!"
Narang said that the scammers even try to double down after getting people to follow their profiles: they link to another Instagram profile and say that it's their accountant's, and that users should follow him to get instructions on how to get their money. Suddenly, the scheme has a monetizing factor behind it, too.
"He goes, 'I'm getting ready to send out checks, but I need you to donate 99 cents for postage to receive your thousand dollars. Click this link," says Narang. "And people were commenting, 'I just sent you 99 cents.'"