Instagram Romance Scams in 2024: Need to Know & Protection

By Ruth Jesse

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

The story of Simon the Tinder swindler was all over the news. I see them as gold diggers. Those women paid him money for a dream he sold them.  They dreamt of a fantasy life of romance and love, and he sold them that dream.  There were plenty of red flags from day one of their meetings.  I say shame on him and shame on them!

Instagram Romance Scams
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Romance scams like this don’t only happen on Tinder. It occurs on every social media platform like Instagram. Even though what he did to these women was morally wrong, he didn’t rob them at gunpoint or demand they hand over the money to him. If you are naïve and uninformed, a romance scammer will steal your heart and wallet.

See, it is in your hands to protect yourself from these scavengers. Do you know you can avoid these sob stories? Life can be challenging, but it can be so easy at the same time when you are informed.

In this article, you’ll learn easy and relevant information that you would use and keep yourself safe in the merciless street of social media specifically Instagram.

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3 Important Things To Know About Instagram Romance Scams

1. How Instagram Romance Scams Work

Not only on Instagram but overall online forums – TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. There are endless complaints, headaches, and emotional outbursts from scammed people. Love scam complaints, business scam complaints – all of this stress is too much.

Look, all scammers pretend and are highly smart and calculative. They know how to find and scam their victims, and clearly understand the mindset of their victims and potential victims. Also, knowing their target audience and how to go after them like a hungry wolf ready to devour its prey.

But in all these, we can’t blame just the perpetrators. Most people have fallen victim to romance scammers because they couldn’t say no. You couldn’t say no to that overzealous online friend who kept offering you gifts and attention. I mentioned that these folks are way too smart, and they know the right bait to use and lure you. You couldn’t say no to free money, gift, and a free vacation. There are lots of scammers parading on the street of Instagram like lovers, business owners, and investors, amongst others.

You must protect yourself at all times and be vigilant. You have to protect your Instagram space physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Have a limit to things you can give and take from a total stranger on Instagram. Once you notice any sketchy individual, you must not hesitate to block and delete the person immediately.

2. Red Flags

Red Flags
Photo credit: istockphoto

As an independent man/woman who makes good money, you are most likely to be a potential victim of Instagram scams. Maybe the vacation, party, and work pictures you throw on your feed, stories, and reels will likely tell them that you are a big fish.

One of the most popular methods they use to steal from their victims is a romance scam. Believe me when I say these people send tons of cold messages to hundreds of men and women using their fake accounts, hoping that you fall into their traps. Once you respond to their direct message and start paying attention to them, the scam begins. They will give you some days, weeks, or months before they start asking for money.

It is typical for scammers to ask for money on Instagram nowadays. When you see someone taking advantage of you, and asking you to send money, that is a big red flag. With tens of millions of accounts on Instagram, it is not easy to tell fake accounts from real accounts except for the official Instagram accounts of celebrities or official channels of business.

When someone you don’t know sends you direct messages and tries to get close, you have to be very careful and don’t just trust them with your info and money.

Pay attention to this story.

This man was sending random messages to my girlfriend on her Instagram account. The Instagram swindler tries to scam my girlfriend. I believe this man sorts my girlfriend out because of the extravagant lifestyle she flaunts on Instagram. He budgeted about $1000 for the date. That’s what they do. They rob Peter to pay Paul. They are very strategic with their plans.

So, he started offering my girlfriend gifts weeks into their imaginary relationship. One time he even sent her gifts with his pictures on them. (Not really his face, though, but he claimed it was his). He was trying to create a bond so that when he struck, my girlfriend would be taken unawares.

Some Instagram scams come with this format of spending little money on you before asking for money, while some ask you for money straight up without spending anything on you. Whichever the case may be, you must guard yourself so that you will not be anybody’s victim. Just like how ladies fell for that “Billionaire’s son” ON TINDER,  doesn’t that alone sound fishy? Now this guy who ruined people’s lives gets away with only five months in jail and now becomes a celebrity. What’s the world coming to?

3. No Security On Instagram

Initially, Instagram was designed to be a picture-sharing social media platform where people show their business and expertise. Not the dating app it is becoming today. Therefore it lacks some security features that detect identity theft on dating sites like Hi5 and eharmony. On those platforms, they ensure the person you are talking to is the person they claim to be. That’s why you must stay safe and be wary of cold messages from total strangers.

One of the most brilliant and thoughtful things to do when someone you are talking to wants to take your friendship to another level is to ask for a phone call or video call. These romance scammers hide under fake profiles to carry out their evil deeds. They detest phone calls and video calls because they are not using their real pictures. Most of the time, they tend to get upset and cut you off if you always insist on making phone/video calls.

When someone sends you a suspicious link, don’t slag. Ensure you report these catfish accounts whenever you stumble on them. That would be an honorable thing to do.

How To Protect Yourself From Scammers

Instagram Scammers

Human life is a complicated one, with every mortal living with diverse experiences and challenges. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people you don’t know or have never met before trying to chat with you on Instagram. There are still people who mean well out there. Social media solely focuses on bringing and connecting people. Just that some horrible people out there have tried to destroy the primary purpose of social media. The most thoughtful thing you can do is don’t be oversharing. Don’t share your personal information with strangers you meet online. Sad reality has dawned on most people who are free-spirited on Instagram. They see a random person somewhat playing nice to them and become too trusting.

A friend came asking about my neighbor who had slid into depression because he was scammed a few months ago. When he shared his story, he never failed to mention the part he played. How relaxed and trusting he was with a random girl he met on Instagram. Most victims of Instagram scams I have met were either too trusting or too greedy. Yes, too greedy because these scammers often come with juicy offers, and they can’t resist and fall victim. Their stories are usually similar. A random person hits, making a direct message offering. Most times, they come for love. Sometimes they come with irresistible business offers.

In some romance scams, these scammers, especially those with real Instagram accounts, go as far as getting married to their victims. Trust me, these men were married in their country, hid that fact, got into relationships with them, even made babies, got their monies or their papers (especially those looking for citizenship), and then left. It’s sickening. All of this stress is too much.

When I listen to these stories, it makes my heart pause and my head heavy. You have to be wary of strangers you meet on Instagram who feel they are entitled to whatever you own. Watch them lose interest when you fail to give them money or grant whatever they have requested.

Like thieves, they are ready to sap you of all you have. Don’t open your purse for them. Protect yourself on Instagram by being vigilant about who follows you. Customize your privacy settings. Listen, you can customize who can get access to your Instagram account, view your photos and videos on Instagram, and even search for you.

Be very careful of what you share. Never share your location tags, especially the address of where you live. Don’t ever share details of your passport or credit card information.

5 Ways How To Avoid Scams on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most renowned and popular social media platforms. Scammers know this and have come prepared with several tricks on their sleeves. These scammers want to take over your account and steal your personal information. Here are some ways these bandits come for you

1. Phishing Scams

Phishing Scams
Photo credit: pixabay

Here is how this method works, these scammers send you a suspicious link. When you visit the website, it is more likely to be a mirror website. Wondering what a mirror website is all about? You might receive a link to purchase a product or a link that requires your Instagram login details.

The link might appear as a stripe sign-in page, where you are required to put your bank details so that you can pay for the product. The real stripe website is If you see anything different like a fake login page, know that it is a scam, like seeing other words in the link, like a “y” before the stripe.

2. Sketchy Investment Offer

An Instagram scam could also come in an advertising deal or investment offer. Some create fraudulent payment Instagram accounts. They will fake receipts of people who have been paid in the past to coerce you into investing your money with them. In rare cases, it could come as loan scams.

In some of these Instagram scams, they will ask you to pay a small sum which will be doubled in the next few months. Some of these pages tell you they are into the Agro business, real estate, etc. They would ask you to make a small investment for a juicy return. It can also be in the form of crowdfunding, where they get people to contribute money for a particular cause. When the time for the payment of a return on investment comes, they will hibernate like snakes. You will not hear from them again.

A scammer could also stage as the owner of an established brand or a crypto exchanger. They will promise to trade Bitcoin at a good rate. During the coronavirus pandemic, many were victims of this Instagram scam. Be careful of offering influencers.





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3. Irresistible Brand Collaboration Request

They will be in your DM with messages about how they like your profile and what you do on Instagram. All they are after is your account login details. You don’t have to have a massive following before they come to you. They need to see that you are continuously active on Instagram to send you a link to their fake site. They will now come with a sweet offer of asking you to collaborate with them by promoting their products. Job scams like this are clear signs of identity theft. Consider your financial details stolen once you provide your personal banking details to them.

4. Giveaways

Instagram celebrities
Photo credit: gettyimages

Most genuine businesses and even some Instagram celebrities have grown their audience, building their brands and getting their potential clients to trust, like, and choose their brands over their competitors. The scammers on Instagram clearly understand the power of giveaways. This is what they do. They would attempt to mirror the identity of some businesses and celebrities on Instagram. Leveraging on people’s desperation, they come up with job scams.

I have seen famous businesses and influencers raise the alarm, stating that everyone should be careful as they have no affiliation with certain accounts on Instagram claiming they are promoting businesses and doing giveaways and are somewhat affiliated with them. When an Instagram friend is promoting an unverified giveaway, be watchful, it could be another romance scam.

5. Beggars

Photo credit: pexels

Apart from job scams, some scammers go from one Instagram page to another, sharing heartbreaking stories of how they are sick and need help. They trick victims that they got admission but can’t proceed to claim their admission because of no funds. At times, they claim to have a sick loved one who is dying because they can’t afford money for the hospital bill. Some even go about it using their pets to lie. They target Instagram pages that love pets and try and sell them sad stories of how their pet is sick and needs money to take care of them. Lies from scammers are common scams you should be careful about.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get scammed on Instagram?

Absolutely, yes. The grand plan of most scammers is to get your money by hook or crook. Unfortunately, Instagram provides a good platform for that. It may be a romance scam, crowdfunding, or investment scam.

“ I love you. You know I love you”.

If you ever heard these words from a greedy, heartless, inconsequential stranger who is hiding in the guise of Instagram romance. “I love you” might just be a way of telling you I think you are a stupid man/woman.

Can you be hacked through the Instagram direct message?

The best thing you can do for yourself is to change your password when phishing occurs on Instagram. Changing your password when you have been phished will help to log everyone who has access to your account off automatically. Not only should you change your password. Changing your email password, too, would be a thoughtful thing to do. If you use the same password for all your accounts, you must not hesitate to change them. This way, you are playing safe and going ahead of the scammers.

What can you do if you’ve been phished on Instagram?

When phishing occurs on Instagram, the best thing you can do for yourself is to change your password. Changing your password when you have been phished will help to log everyone who has access to your account off automatically. Not only should you change your password. Changing your email password, too, would be a thoughtful thing to do. If you use the same password for all your accounts, you must not hesitate to change them. This way, you are playing safe and going ahead of the scammers.

phished on Instagram
Photo credit: metacompliance

Wrap Up

There is so much scam all over Instagram right now. Most victims of Instagram scams end up feeling stupid, insulted, irritated, and hate everything around them. Because, pray tell, how can you just throw your money on a stranger like that? Do not allow these scammers all over Instagram to build their future with your sweat and blood. Pay attention to people’s moves. Even if your bond seems to be through to the roof, there is no reason to lose. Scammers are smart enough to tickle your emotions before striking.

Most people are desperate. Who do we blame for this menace? I blame no one, really. Just keep your purses closed.

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Ruth Jesse

Ruth is a life coach who specialises in relationships and career development. Outside work, she loves writing novels and guides for personal development.

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