There are constantly new scams similar to this one appearing on social media — fortunately, there are straightforward ways to steer clear of them.
Avast researchers have detected a new scam targeting Instagram users from various countries including the UK, Australia, France, Spain, and Poland.
This social media scam begins with a comment from a random account on a user’s post, which congratulates the victim saying they’re one of the 2023 lucky ones selected to receive a SHEIN gift card.
The scammers offers the user a link to their Instagram profile, and at the end, they mention a long list of Instagram users that will be notified about the mention to be lured as victims to this scam.
When checking out the scammer’s Instagram profile, we can see a URL that we must visit:
This is what we’ll see if we visit the website from the UK:
The victim is given a limited time to answer three simple questions, which are shown below:
Once the victim has answered each of the questions, their answers are supposedly being “checked”. On the same screen, comments from other “lucky people” are shown:
Importantly, it doesn’t matter which answers are given – they’ll always be the right ones.
At this point, the victim is presented with nine closed boxes to choose from. Similar to the previous step, it doesn’t matter which ones are chosen – the first one will always be a failure.
…and the second one will always be a winner.
Of course, to get the prize, the victim is asked for a small amount of money:
The currency and the language will depend on the country the victim is located in. For example, here’s the Polish version:
Once accepted, the victim is taken to a website where they have to fill in some details. Here’s what the various country websites look like:
Each country’s website asks for the victim’s personal information. After entering their details, the victim is asked for their credit card details. However, taking a look at this page, it becomes clear that there’s a nasty trick being played: The goal here is to hide the real Terms and Conditions.
This is where the scam takes place: The victim is expecting a gift card valued in several hundreds of euros or dollars. It seems that they have to pay a small amount of money to receive it, but what’s really happening is that they’re subscribing to a service that the victim doesn’t know anything about. In Australia, for example, the victim is charged AUD $2 plus AUD $69 every two weeks. In France, the amount charged is €2 plus €33 every two weeks. For some countries, the money that will be charged isn’t even disclosed. And of course, none of them will receive the gift card.
This can be seen on the Australian version of the website:
In Spain, it’s a bit different, as the text is at the very bottom of the web page and is invisible unless the victim scrolls all the way down:
The victim is agreeing, unwillingly, to sign up for a subscription service that they don’t know anything about.
How to protect yourself against Instagram scams
There are constantly new scams similar to this one appearing on social media, but there are a number of straightforward ways to steer clear of them.
In addition to being aware, we also suggest having your devices protected with antivirus protection so you’ll be warned in case you end up on a scam page like the ones shown above.
When getting information from an Instagram account (or other social networks), look for signs that the account is original and authentic. There are plenty of copycats and fraudulent accounts out there, but when looking closely, you’ll almost always be able to spot signs pointing to the fact that they’re ingenuine.
*Reader’s note: The profiles shown here in the scam have been reported to Instagram.