Teens being targeted by phishing, influencer scams on Instagram

Posted at 3:23 PM, Feb 07, 2023

Today is Safer Internet Day and there are new scams on Instagram targeting teens that can be easy to fall for.

One scam to look for is "sugar daddy" direct messages. The scam takes the form of a wealthy adult seeking a relationship. Some will ask to borrow money in a direct message, or it could be a predator.

Another scam to watch for is fake contests.

“The red flag that you should look out for is when these accounts start asking for credit, card information and other personal details,” said Titania Jordan, chief parent officer at Bark Technologies. “Most real giveaways will not ask for payment information. And so, you know, sometimes the excitement of winning things leads to not great choices, and especially if you're a child, and you don't have that level of discernment.”

Another scam going around is making money quickly by becoming an influencer. It's normally not a real thing. Instagram is watching for this and if they find your teen has participated, they'll shut them down.

Phishing scams can target adults via text or email, but it's happening to kids on Instagram as well. Even if you think the link is coming from a legitimate place, verify it.

“If you talking are to them about this stuff just seems to, you know, make their eyes glaze over, do a quick Google search,” Jordan said. “Find stories of these incidents that have actually happened to other smart kids just like them, and it will help them to take notice.”