It’s a good time to be a scammer on the Internet. A lot of them have been earning thousands of dollars just for offering services that are not legit but are apparently in demand. One of the “growing businesses” now for these kinds of scammers is an Instagram-banning service. Basically, you pay the scammer to get an Instagram account banned and they use different methods to trick Instagram into banning the said account. Interestingly enough, these scammers also offer restoration services and at pretty exorbitant prices at that.
A report from Motherboard says that there’s an increasing number of “services” advertising that they can get accounts banned from Instagram for around $60. Reasons for trying to get accounts banned can be as simple as you hate this person or as complicated as a stalking/harassment case. But whatever the reason, this seems to be a lucrative business now as some of those interviewed say that they’re doing this full-time already with the number of requests they receive.
Some shared their “secret” on how to get banned. It involves impersonating the account by copying their name, photo, and bio) then reporting the target as the impersonator. And apparently, this gaming of the system works. The other method they use is reporting the account for violating the policies around suicide and self-harm. They already have “scripts” and systems in place to make it work and it apparently does work. What Instagram started for the good of those who may be experiencing mental health issues is now being used by these banning services.
To make it worse, those same businesses that are offering banning services are also the ones offering account recovery. This time, they charge somewhere between $3,500-4000. Users actually get immediate offers to get their accounts back as soon as they receive notification that they were banned on the platform. And for those that are desperate to get their account and all the data there back, they will accept such offers. Well, if they have that amount of course.
Instagram has not yet released an official statement but they did say to Motherboard that they are investigating these entities that offer such services. Instagram has a section in the Help Center to help users recover their accounts and that’s probably what you should do rather than resort to these scam services.