- Finance influencers say that fake accounts impersonating them are rampant on Instagram.
- Scammers are copying real profiles to trick followers into thinking they are actually influencers.
- Here’s what creators want Instagram to do about it.
Fake accounts impersonating influencers abound on Instagram.
The accounts copy various aspects of creators’ real accounts, like their photos and Stories, making it hard for followers to decipher which account is real.
It’s seemingly also hard for influencers to do anything about it. After flagging and warning their followers about these scams for over a year, creators say they need Instagram to take action.
Insider spoke with eight creators who post content about personal finance, investing, and cryptocurrency who said this has become a big issue for them in the past year. These fake Instagram accounts use the influencer’s name, profile photo, and content, including pictures of their family and children, to trick followers into thinking it’s actually the influencer.
The influencers said that the recent uptick in fake accounts had negatively affected their careers on social media and the relationship they have with their followers. They added that they wished Instagram would make the verification and reporting processes easier.
Sarah Rosalia (who goes by Sarah Finance online) told Insider that in one instance, her Instagram account was disabled for over a week for “pretending to be someone else,” according to a message on her Instagram Help Center.
Her account is back now, but she struggled to get in touch with Instagram, she said, adding that none of this would have happened had she been able to get verification.
“Instagram really could do a better job at helping,” Rosalia said. “I’ve applied for check mark verification many times over the last year, and they haven’t given it to me. That would be one very strong way for followers to know that it’s really me.”
Insider found 20 accounts on Instagram impersonating personal finance influencer Marko Zlatic. The accounts used the same profile picture and a similar username. One fake account has over 94,000 followers and another has over 35,000 followers — more than the 35,000 followers that Zlatic actually has on Instagram.
“Reporting these accounts has been a nightmare, and trying to get verified has been a nightmare,” Zlatic said. “I’ve provided my passport, address, links to articles, and they still don’t verify me.”
“I think the blue check mark would be huge,” he added. “I don’t know what else I need to do as a creator.”
These scammers don’t just copy influencers’ accounts. They also actively pursue their followers by following and sending a direct message to someone after they follow the real account.
“The bot must have some code where as soon as someone new follows me, the fake account will message them,” said Rose Han, who goes by the username Investing with Rose. “The accounts will copy everything that I post, including my stories, which is so creepy.”
Insider found 17 Instagram accounts pretending to be Han.
Rosalia suggested that Instagram could hide creators’ “following” list to help solve this issue.
Insider reached out to Instagram for comment, and the platform sent over more information on the verification process (which can be found here).
“We’ve built reporting into the app and have dedicated forms for people to let us know when someone else is using their content without permission, so we can take action by removing that content and disabling the accounts of those re responsible where appropriate,” the company said in a statement.