Crypto hacking attempts come in many guises, and Instagram scammers have in many ways gone under the radar, but they are there. From sending you to fraudulent websites to getting you to download fake apps, the end goal of stealing your money is the same, and the vagaries of the Instagram platform mean that it can be harder to flush out the fakes. Follow our guide to help you spot the fake Instagram accounts that want your crypto.
It’s Authentication Jim, but Not as We Know It
Like Twitter, Instagram has a check of authenticity for notable accounts – a white tick in a blue circle. The problem with Instagram is that it doesn’t have the same authentication levels as Twitter, meaning that some genuine entities, including crypto exchanges, do not feature the authentication stamp despite being legit, meaning you have to do some detective work to stay safe.
One example is Huobi. Searching for ‘Huobi’ within Instagram brings up a number of search results, including accounts for ‘Huobi Global’, ‘Huobi Pro’, and ‘Huobi Indonesia’ – all perfectly viable options for the exchange:
Indeed, on the surface, these pages all seem like they could belong to the business:
There are a few things that suggest the sites might be less than genuine however. Firstly, all three sites link to different websites. A quick Google search reveals that Huobi’s official site is Huobi.com, which only one of the three imposters, Huobi Indonesia, lists on their profile. It’s pretty clear then that the other two will link to scammer sites of some kind.
Posts and Followers
The second thing to look out for is the number of posts and followers. A large exchange like Huobi will have thousands of followers and likely a great many posts too, a theory we can apply to suspected imposter sites. Indeed, Huobi Pro has just 13 posts and 90 followers, which is immediately suspect.
Huobi Global and Huobi Indonesia fare a little better, with posts in the hundreds and followers in the thousands, but the numbers are still quite low compared to what we might expect.
The next thing to check is the date of the last post. Big exchanges like Huobi will likely update their social media on a daily basis if not more often, so seeing when the Instagram accounts were last updated will give us a clear idea of activity levels. Huobi Global last posted on January 21, 2019, while Huobi Indonesia and Huobi Pro both have April 19, 2018 as their most recent posting dates.
Having not been updated in years all but proves that the three sites are not the genuine article and should be avoided at all costs. It also suggests that Huobi Indonesia and Huobi Pro are run by the same scammers, given their identical last posting date.
Start From the Website
There is of course an easier way to track down the genuine Huobi Instagram page – their website. Most sites will list their social media links at the top or bottom of their webpages, and Huobi is no different – all their social media accounts are listed at the bottom.
Accessing Huobi’s Instagram page via their site gives us instant reassurance – we can see a high number of posts and followers, a link to the official site, and an average of two posts per day in recent months:
We can also see the absence of the authentication tick, which is why we’re here in the first place, but we have enough evidence now to be safe in assuming that this is the official Huobi Instagram account.
As well as the lack of an authentication stamp, it is also troubling that the official Huobi Instagram page only appears some three quarters of the way down the list of results when the term ‘Huobi’ is searched within Instagram. If we didn’t know that the logo was specific to this account, we would hardly have been likely to find it down here.
Huobi Not Alone
A more troubling example is BitStamp, the search results for which bring up five Instagram accounts purporting to be that of the venerable crypto exchange. The only problem is that, after consulting the website, it’s clear that the company doesn’t even have an Instagram account, meaning that all five are fake.
One of these accounts even links to a website called ‘NewBitstampApp’, which will see your crypto wallets emptied quicker than you can say ‘enter your private key here’.
Instagram isn’t used as much as Twitter by the crypto community, which means that less attention is paid to the scammers that lurk on the platform. But they’re there, waiting to steal your money. Make sure you’re not the next victim.