How to avoid the SHEIN gift card scam on Instagram
A new scam has been targeting users on Instagram with the promise of SHEIN gift cards. The scam has been targeting users in the UK, US, France, Spain and further afield. This scam is widespread and has been appearing frequently. In this article we will show you what the scam is and how to avoid it.
What is the SHEIN scam?
The SHEIN scam on Instagram is based around a comment on an Instagram post that has been published on your account, or one that you have been tagged in. The comment will generally congratulate the user on winning a SHEIN gift card and will explain to users how to claim their gift card. The purpose of this scam, like many other online scams, is to trick victims into giving over their personal bank details.
How does the SHEIN scam work?
When you go to their account, you will then see a link to participate and Win a SHEIN Gift Card. Just looking at the example below, we can see that this account has very few followers, has a link in the bio, has a spelling mistake in the text "Sheiiin", the account was only created several weeks ago and the account name is just random letters.
From what we have read, when you click on the link in the bio, you will be redirected to another website where you will be asked to fill in a form with you personal details, and then answer a questionnaire in order to claim your voucher. You are given a short time window to fill in the survey, adding to pressure to an unsuspecting victim.
After completing the questionnaire, victims have been presented with a chance to select a prize box. After selecting the "correct" box, victims "win" a gift voucher. The only thing left to do now to claim your supposed reward is to give an address, postage payment and other personal details, such as name, phone number, email and bank details. After completion, the scammers will send the gift card to you (despite most gift cards being digital nowadays, which should already ringing alarm bells).
All of this to say, any proposal of a free gift card, SHEIN, or otherwise on social media is almost certainly fraudulent. Unless it is an official account, that is putting on an official giveaway, it is good practice that you avoid them. And importantly, be careful with whom you share your personal details online.
What are typical signs of an online scam?
There are several tell tale signs that something is a scam online, whether this be for Instagram, other social media platforms, or sites in general.
- Someone asking you for money, even if it is a seemingly small amount.
- People giving prizes, money, gift cards for competitions that you haven't entered into (or even those you may have entered, which are not legitimate).
- The account is from an unverified public figure or company. For example an "Official Nike account" offering a pair of shoes.
- Being asked a small fee when applying for a job online.
- Private messages or comments that contain suspicious links.
- Somebody claiming that they work for Instagram asking for your account details.
- Accounts that are new to the platform and have few followers. Instagram will try to remove spam or fake accounts over time, so the scammers create endless new accounts.
- Watch out for grammatical errors or spelling mistakes within messages and posts. And even if the grammar and spelling is perfect, if any of the other warning criteria have been met, remain cautious.
- Be weary of discounts that are too good to be true. For example, an offer to buy an iPhone 14 Pro at $500 (it is double that new).
- If someone is pretending to be someone they are not.
- Watch out for anyone that tries to take a conversation off Instagram to a platform that is not as secure.
How to avoid Instagram scams?
Scams are prevalent online and there are constantly new ways of falling victim to one of them. We recommend that you have up to date antivirus protection on your computer of device that should alert you to any fraudulent websites and protect you.
As for Instagram specific advice, make note of the typical signs of a scam above, and consider changing your privacy settings on your account. You can prevent people that aren't following you, or that you don't follow from tagging you in posts, and you can also prevent this type of account from commenting on your social media. It is slightly more difficult to do if you have a public presence, however being cautious of scam accounts is always wise.
How to avoid unwanted Instagram tags?
To prevent people from unwanted people tagging you in Instagram you need to alter your Instagram settings.
- On your mobile device, open Instagram
- Go to your profile and then into Settings
- Go to the Privacy menu and then to Posts
- This will give you the option of changing who can tag you in a post
- Switch from Everyone to People you follow. This will prevent accounts from tagging you.