How to spot Instagram spam


Written by LynnA

Selling books is like solving a puzzle. I love puzzles. There is something so satisfying in taking what looks like ill-fitted pieces that make little or no sense separately, and putting them together to create something amazing. It is problem solving at it's core. I take that same approach in helping authors sell more books. Give me your broken pieces and let me help you sell more copies of your masterpiece.

October 2, 2019

Instagram spammers are getting craftier and craftier, so be careful. Let’s talk about how to spot spam.

We’ve all been here before. You get a notification that someone new liked a bunch of your Instagram pictures AND followed you. Awesome. Then comes the personal message that’s just a little too personal. They’ll try to capitalize on what they perceive might be a weakness for you. I’m a middle-aged woman so I must need the attention of handsome soldiers or surgeons . Their messages begin with something like… Hello beautiful lady. In my head, I always read them like it’s Steve Martin or Dan Akroyd playing one of the sleazy Festrunk Brothers from SNL circa 1978. It’s entertaining for me.

What are we looking for?

When you click through to look at their profile, you’ll see that the keywords under their name are probably similar to your own interests. And they are beautiful people. Like, really beautiful people. Their photos are almost exclusively of themselves doing something really cool. So cool, in fact, that they look staged. Because they are. If you did a Google reverse image search on any of their pictures, you’d likely see that they were stock images. They usually have few posts and the captions are very vague, often just a description of the image or a generic statement that makes little sense. Sometimes, they have no caption at all. How weird is that, since we all want engagement and we all use hashtags to help people find us, right? Those images rarely have any likes and the dates will be recent, possibly all on the same day, as if they uploaded the posts at the same time.

So you think it’s a fake. Now what?

Social media defies the rules are mom taught us to live by – don’t talk to strangers. But in this case, it’s really true! Remember your dos and don’ts of social media:

– Don’t give out any personal information. Believe me when I say, the Army Corps of Engineers did not leave that handsome soldier in Pakistan to get home by himself. (True story of someone I know who fell for the con.)
– Don’t engage. I’ve done it. It can be fun. I once chatted with someone who claimed to be a Rockefeller who invited me to join the secret society of the Illuminati. At the age of about 90, he was pretty darn quick at the keyboard. And I was a little surprised that he was so willing to invite me, someone he didn’t know, to join this secret society. Alas, I had to make dinner so I let him go. These fakes are phishing for cash. Always. Engaging with them can turn into something less than fun if you get the wrong guy. So just don’t engage.
– Not sure? Let it go. If it’s a fake account, Instagram will find them or someone will report it and the follow will fall off. I don’t believe that you have to follow everyone that follows you. Those vanity follow/follower numbers don’t mean anything if they’re not the right fit for you.
– If you’re sure it’s a fake, report and block them. It’s like the wild west out here on the Internet on the best of days. Helping to make sure a bad guy doesn’t gain a foothold, is the least we can do.

Tell me a story!

I love to hear about creative spamming. Tell me a funny story in the comments below!

If you need help or if you have any questions, you can leave those in the comments below or email me. Are we following each other on Instagram? Why not! Go, find me. Follow me. But please don’t send me a creepy personal message! 🙂

As always, I am,

Blessed to be a blessing.



  1. Carol Taylor

    I could have written this… Sigh.. But you forgot Whats App cos they are certainly persistent these lonely top army generals…I reckon the armed forces could employ us we could spot an infiltrator at 10 paces… 😀

    • LynnA

      Of course, Whats App. You’re right! Imagine if these spammers actually worked as hard at a job as they do trying to take advantage of people? They’re so creative!



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