Contests and Sweepstakes Scams and Frauds

How to Spot Fake Instagram Contests and Sweepstakes

Win Great Prizes on Insta Without Getting Duped

By MELANIE EVANS | Updated March 12, 2023

Instagram is a hugely popular social media platform. Unfortunately, it is popular not only among ordinary people, but also among scammers who like to create fake accounts and bogus contests.

You should be able to spot fake Instagram sweepstakes and giveaways whether you run an Instagram Business page or a personal account. Make use of this handy guide to avoid being duped.

How to spot fake Instagram sweepstakes and giveaways

So, why do people make fake Instagram giveaways? Fake competitions are frequently used to persuade users to follow fictitious accounts. The accounts are then sold on to other spammers with inflated follower counts. Because it is so easy to change the name of an Instagram page, it can be difficult to tell when a fraud has occurred.

How to Spot Fake Instagram Contests.

  • Although the giveaway account is associated with a well-known brand, it is not verified. Look for the blue tick next to well-known brands or celebrity usernames. If a giveaway appears in your feed, make sure it's from a reputable, legitimate account.

  • The giveaway account was only recently set up.

    Consider this scenario: you come across a tempting giveaway and click through to the organizer's profile. However, their feed contains no posts other than the giveaway. Of course, it's possible that it's just a new brand. Make sure the giveaway rules and profile information (such as the bio link or email address) are correct.

  • There are no followers or recent activity on the giveaway account.

    The majority of genuine giveaways come from well-known accounts with a large number of active followers. Accounts with a small number of followers or no activity should be avoided. A sudden increase in activity after months of inactivity can also be a red flag.

    Still have doubts about whether or not an account is genuine? Use a tool like Modash's Fake Follower Check to see if it's fake.

  • The giveaway post contains errors in spelling or translation.

    Brands care about what they post, believe us. If you see spelling errors, blurry images, or basic language errors, you may be looking at a phony giveaway.

  • Stock or stolen images are used in the giveaway post.

    Using stock photography is perfectly acceptable. But, if a brand or influencer is giving away a prize, you'd think they'd have their own photos, right? You should be suspicious if you see photos that are obviously generic or used without permission. If you're not sure, run the photo through a Google Image search to see if it's already been shared.

  • The giveaway sets a minimum number of followers.

    We've seen giveaways with captions like "Giveaway when we reach 10,000 fans!" or "Prize increases by $100 for every 100 fans!" Another variation is, "To win, you must have at least 5,000 followers."

    Instagram giveaways are, in fact, a very effective way to gain more followers organically. Without requiring specific numbers or bullying people, a good giveaway will result in more followers. If a giveaway requires a minimum number of followers especially if it is extremely high it is most likely shady.

  • You can't find the terms and conditions.

    Legally, every online giveaway must include terms and conditions. These include important details such as the organizer's name and contact information, how to participate, how the winner will be chosen, what happens to your data, and so on. It's an instant red flag if you don't see any terms and conditions.

  • No one answers your messages

    If there are any questions or concerns, the giveaway organizer should be available to assist. You should be suspicious if you can't find any contact information or if the organizer doesn't respond to your messages.

  • The prize is just too good (to be true)

    Brands enjoy giving away big prizes. They must, however, be realistic: not every customer can be given a new car or the latest iPhone. Be wary of a giveaway that offers huge prizes, especially if the prize is paid out in cash or comes from a small company.

  • Tons of random hashtags The giveaway post uses lots of random hashtags.

    Hashtags are a great way to get your Instagram posts noticed. However, you should only use those that are relevant! If a giveaway post has a lot of hashtags, especially if they're irrelevant, it's probably not a real giveaway. Even if it is genuine, it is targeted at a large audience and employs spam tactics.

  • There are bots in the comments.

    Take a look around you if you're thinking about entering a giveaway. Who else is going to be there? If you see a lot of real people having a good time, go for it. However, if you notice fake accounts or spammy comments, you should investigate the giveaway further. Keep an eye out for a lot of comments from the same user or comments with links.

  • The giveaway isn't mentioned on the brand's website or on any of its other social media accounts.

    Brands, as previously stated, enjoy running giveaways. They also enjoy telling others about them!

    After all, the purpose of giveaways is to promote a brand. Why wouldn't they post it on their other social media pages, website, and email newsletters? It's possible that the giveaway isn't real if you can't find any mention of it on the brand's other channels.


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