Users of the popular photo-sharing app Instagram may be presented with a shady comment that claims Instagram and Best Buy have teamed up to give away free $100 (75 EUR) gift cards.
Symantec experts came across one of these scams and determined that the crooks that launched them have put a great effort into making everything look as legitimate as possible.
When the user first clicks on the link that allegedly points to the place where the gift cards are provided, he/she is prompted to enter a phone number.
In the next phases of the scheme, the phone number is requested once again, along with the victim’s name and email address. The phone number can be used to sign up the customer for paid services that earn the crooks a lot of money and the email address can be used for spam campaigns.
The Instagram scams look legitimate because in the first phase of the contest enrolment process the internaut is presented with a cleverly placed fine print, which informs him/her that it’s not necessary to provide the phone number and the email address in order to win the prize.
Even more, on each of the pages that request information, skip buttons are hidden.
At the end, the contest rules are displayed, highlighting the fact that no purchases must be made in order to win the prize.
In reality, there is no prize, and those who fall for the plot may find that they unwillingly subscribed to mobile services that would inflate their phone bills.
Instagram users are advised to report spam accounts by clicking on the wheel icon from the top-right corner of their profile to prevent scams from spreading and infecting others.
Instagram and Best Buy are both taking measures to remove schemes that rely on their reputation.