If you are here, it is probably because you have received more than a dozen requests to follow you on Instagram overnight . Or because you have directly gained a lot of followers overnight. And not exactly from people who are interested in actually following you. What is behind all this?
We could say that it is a mystery. But we are sure that behind this indiscriminate avalanche of followers (which will probably come to you like an incessant trickle) there is something somewhat obscure . Something we must pay attention to, to avoid being deceived or scammed.
But let's see what this phenomenon is about (more common than you think) and what we can do about it. Keep reading this article to discover the mystery behind ghost followers .
Why all these followers that I don't know?
Lets start by the beginning. If you are not a personality, an actor or actress. If you do not dedicate yourself to modeling things, you are not an it girl , nor are you an ace of humor, receiving an avalanche of followers in just a few hours is, at least, strange. If you have not participated in a high-profile event (you have taken out a book, participated in a television program or achieved a Guinness record), suddenly countless Instagram users want to follow you is not normal . Therefore, distrust.
And now we go to the crux of the matter. Because if you are a woman, as it has happened to me, it is most likely that the avalanche you receive is, one hundred percent, of apparently handsome and interesting men . The profiles are: members of the armed forces, television presenters, attractive parents, romantic gentlemen, passionate about healthy food and a long list of hot topics.
With men it happens more of the same, only that his is much more evident. My partner has received, in equal parts, and both through Facebook and Instagram, some friendship suggestions from young women, dressed in scant clothing and whose favorite sport, as stated in their profiles, is directly playing in bed .
As you can guess (you don't have to be very skilled in internet issues to figure it out), we are facing an organized maneuver . Some security companies agree that we are profiles created by people or robots. In fact, most have four to five photos, no text, no likes, or comments.
In the case of men, the obvious is sought. But in the case of women, profiles of supposedly attractive men are created , hugging children , accompanied by flowers, fruits, vegetables and other elements associated with a healthy life. Books, drawings, images of soldiers with children from third world countries ... In short, pictures that can be suggestive for women. Or so its architects must believe.
But why do they create these types of profiles?
Experts have long warned of these fraudulent practices. These profiles can be created by people or robots. For what? Well, to get information, send malware files, try to steal from us. Some campaigns of this type may have been created to practice cyber espionage, unethical , with the aim of politically persuading citizens.
And where do they get the photos from? Because their faces look perfectly real. Well, it is very possible that these photos have been taken from image banks or directly stolen from other people's accounts that are real.
So what should I do if I receive requests like this? What we basically suggest is to ignore these accounts. That is, do not accept follow-up requests . If they already follow you (because your profile is open), delete them as followers. If you don't know how to do it, follow these instructions:
- Access your Instagram (click on the icon of the little person, located at the bottom right of the screen)
- Click on Followers. Here you will see them all.
- Look for the ones that don't interest you and hit the Delete button.
Report these fraudulent profiles on Instagram
If you want to help prevent this from happening, you should also report these profiles. Before deleting them, click on them (you have to click on the name) and on the icon with the three dots, at the top right of the screen. Several options will appear: Report, Block and Restrict .
We recommend you click on the Report option . In this case, Instagram will ask you to make an indication of the reason why you want to report it. You can mark the option that it is SPAM or that it is inappropriate. Choose the first one.
You will receive a thank you message from Instagram, for contributing to making this social network a safer space . Repeat the reporting procedure as many times as fraudulent accounts have wanted to follow you. It's the only way we have to alert Instagram that something weird is happening.
If you choose this option, the contact will be directly blocked. So you won't have to block it afterwards. If you click on Restrict, Instagram will ask you if you have problems with that specific user . This is a useful option when a person - real and concrete - is having an inappropriate behavior with you. So in these cases, it is best to always report the account as spam. If you also want to restrict it, go ahead. There is no problem in reinforcing that blockade.
If you've received a lot of requests, the reporting process may be a bit more time consuming , but it will be worth it. Mind you, make sure to do so before deleting the request. Because otherwise, you will lose it and you will no longer be able to send the complaint.
Restrict your Instagram profile: make it private
If you have your profile open, perhaps it is time you closed it to the general public. It is a good option to protect yourself, especially if you often post personal things. If you are not a public figure , the most sensible thing is to apply the highest level of security available to prevent your account from becoming the fodder for cybercriminals. You can do it like this:
1. Access your Instagram profile and click on the hamburger icon, located at the top right of the screen. It's the options menu. Choose Settings .
2. Once inside, select Privacy> Account Privacy .
3. Slide the switch to make your account private. This should be marked in blue .