12 On Your Side: Instagram scam targets 500,000 users, say software experts

By: Jerome Collins Email
By: Jerome Collins Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / December 2, 2013


"I use it daily. Sometimes multiple times a day," says Zaccheus Miles. For Miles it is all about rubbing elbows including on social media.

"For promoting and networking my business for fashion designing," says Miles. He says Instagram has helped spread the word about his bow tie and fashion design business.

"There's a lot of "liking" going on, on Instagram. People commenting on the pictures and things like that," says Miles.

But some Instagram "likes" could compromise your personal information. Last month alone, more than 100,000 Instagram users were duped by a mobile application called "Instlike."

The application asks for usernames and passwords in exchange for free "likes" and more followers. "Now it's become more of a trendy thing for the social media that people look into more now. They just want to get those likes," says Miles.

He says he knew not to fall for the scam which uses fake business accounts of real companies like Best Buy, Ray Ban sunglasses and even Delta Airlines.

The scam lures Instagram users by promising a free gift to click on a specific web link.

"Instagram is fairly new to where businesses are not all incorporating it into their services yet," says GiGi Turner with Augusta's Better Business Bureau.

But tens of thousands of Instagram users were convinced the offers were legit. Turner says that is what the con artists are counting on. "Cyber criminals are going to use any avenue that they can," says Turner.

She says the Instagram scam works by getting more and more users to like friends who then like other friends and so on. "You are now being used to create other victims," says Turner.

For Miles with his fashion design business riding on his credibility, he says he will continue to be vigilant while using social media. "You have to be really careful with Instagram these days or with any social media for that matter," says Miles.

The Instlike application has been removed from mobile phone app stores, however the Instlike website is still up and running.

If you downloaded the Instlike application and gave a username and password, Symantec suggests you first, change your password immediately and then delete the Instlike application from your phone, otherwise it will continue to post from your account.

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