The other day I received a rather odd email. Someone had sent me a message stating that they had “boosted” my last Instagram post and that I should head over to my account to check it out. If I liked what they had done then I could have all of my posts boosted for ONLY $9 a week!

Don’t you love that? The all capitalization to get you to act immediately, like your time will expire if you don’t fall all over this offer right now. And it seemed like such a great deal…

The whole thing freaked me out.

First – how did they “boost” my post?

This was actually pretty simple to figure out. They didn’t have access to my ad account and there weren’t any kind of stats for the boost, so I know they didn’t go through the normal advertising platform. I looked at the accounts that had liked my post because yes, it had definitely gotten a LOT more attention that most of my posts. Instead of 50 or less likes (don’t judge, my Instagram account has restarted a dozen times), I had gotten over 110 in a very short time span. SEEMED great…but then you realize that the accounts aren’t real.

My best guess is that this particular user who emailed me, he said his name was Brad, had created a hundred plus fake accounts or had a pod of people that worked together to go and like my post. It then had the appearance that my post had been “boosted”.

email from insta scam

This was the email in question…quite a few red flags went up on this one.

It of course has not happened again. I did not email him back and fall for the bait, but I also immediately started to think of all the precautions I need to ensure are on my accounts. I run quite a few accounts for clients and my passwords change somewhat frequently, but just in case, it was time for password updates and a thorough security check of my Instagram and Facebook account security.

Since Facebook is linked to my Instagram accounts it was important to check there and before anything else, always change your email password. The biggest thing with scams is that if you have been hacked your email is one of the quickest ways for them to get to you and screw every account you have.

Need a new password? They email you a link. Convenient for hackers…horrifying for those that have been hacked.

This is also why I whole heartedly believe that two step authentication is extremely important for EVERY social media account and email. It may be a pain in some instances, but the slight inconvenience of it is worth it in the end.

A few more notes on fake accounts/scams on Instagram.

If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. This is the same rule of thumb with influencers. Have you ever seen those accounts with a TON of followers but very little interaction from their fan base? No comments, barely any likes…nothing.

That is a tried and true sign that that particular individual is either A) not real or B) bought their followers.

VW-043018-02True influence is not a popularity contest – it is people interacting with people. Those that have created a content and value rich account and seek out interaction with their followers. On Instagram and every other account – a fake influencer is really only a few steps away from a scammer. They don’t want you to know they aren’t real and will ask you to pay them for their opinion or give them free stuff.

Don’t fall for it. You are not a commodity and you are more than your product. It takes time and effort to build a solid following on Instagram and every other platform. Put in the work, engage with others and put out valuable content…it will be worth it.

Best of luck on your marketing journey!

PSST….looking for tips and a community to help you build a stronger marketing strategy for your brand? I just opened my group on Facebook, Embracing the Power of Social Media Marketing on my VENTUREWRITE page. All business focused individuals seeking successful success with social media marketing are welcome!