Straight Talk: Instagram scam targets business owners

·3 min read
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Better Business Bureau serving Canton Region and Greater West Virginia offers tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.

Scammers know that your online reputation can dramatically affect your business. That is why they have come up with this new scam. Beware of fake copyright infringement notices that prompt you to share your social media credentials.

How the scam works

You receive an official-looking email or a direct message on Instagram or another social media platform. The message claims that you have violated the platform’s copyright terms. You must complete a form immediately, or “your account will be deleted in 24 hours.” In some cases, the scammer may send you an email that appears to come directly from Instagram. In other variations, the fake message comes from the account you allegedly infringed upon.One business owner told about their experience receiving a fake copyright infringement notice on Instagram. “An account messaged me on Instagram and said I had to follow a link to fill out an appeal form because I supposedly violated some copyright. Against my better judgment, I clicked on the link, and it took me to a fake Instagram login page. I messaged the person to ask what happened, and they just kept saying they cannot help me if I do not fill out the form with the correct login information.”If you provide your login credentials, scammers will be able to take over your social media account and impersonate you. They may also try using the same username and password to access other accounts you own. Or they might even send you follow-up messages asking you to verify other accounts, such as your email.

How to avoid social media scams

  • Stay calm. Whatever you do, do not panic. Scammers hope you will be so concerned about salvaging your social media account, you will do whatever they say without thinking. Instead, keep your cool and do not give in to threats or attempts to intimidate you.

  • Verify the “violation.” Look into the claims before taking any action. Log into your account and look for any official notifications. If the scammer claims to represent a specific account or business, look them up and see if they are associated with suspicious activity.

  • Get to know the policies of any social media platform you use. If you know how Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms handle copyright violations and disputes, you will know right away if the proper procedure has been followed or if what you’re reading is suspicious.

For more information

Check out BBB's social media scams page ( − a new page dedicated to scams found on social channels!Read our tips for spotting scams in emails ( and on social media ( Find out how to protect yourself from similar cons by reading about phishing scams.

For BBB information

Visit or call 330-454-9401 to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, read tips, find our events, follow us on social media, and more!

This article originally appeared on The Repository: Straight Talk: Instagram scam targets business owners