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Instagram impersonation scams surge: Here’s what to look out for

Lana Clements
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Lana Clements

Impersonation scams on Instagram have jumped by 155% over the past 12 months, according to data from Lloyds Bank.


Fraudsters create fake accounts to pose as friends or family and send requests for money in the con.

The average scam costs £336 and may involve contacts claiming their phone has been lost.

Lloyds found there are fewer frauds taking place on social media platforms Facebook and Snapchat but they are typically more costly, leaving victims £504 and £602 worse off respectively.

Younger people are most likely to fall victim to social media fraud, according to the bank.

Users should be wary when receiving unexpected requests for money through social media, even if it comes from someone you know. Check someone’s identity through a phone call or other means before responding to requests for cash.

Lloyds said if you’re being put under pressure to transfer money quickly it should act as a red flag.

Liz Ziegler, fraud prevention director at the bank, said: “Social media is now intimately woven into our lives – it’s how we stay in touch with people, see what’s in the news, treat ourselves to something new and keep up with influencers.

“Sophisticated organised criminal gangs know this, and are ready to adapt their deceptive methods instantly, lurking around every virtual corner to try and part you from your hard earned cash.’

“These nasty impersonation scams target people’s natural desire to help family and friends as, instead of impersonating the police or the taxman, fraudsters are creeping closer to home and pretending to be those dearest to you.

“When using social media we should all remain guarded, be vigilant against fraud attempts, and remember that if something seems fishy – you’re probably right.”