Scammers pose as potential buyers on Instagram to dupe victims and take over their accounts

At least 110 people were duped into allowing their Instagram accounts to be taken over by scammers in the first 10 months of this year, said police.

There are two versions of the scam.

In the first version, scammers would pose as potential buyers and directly message business accounts on Instagram.

Before a transaction is made, the scammer would ask to verify the authenticity of the account.

Unknown to the victim, the scammers would trigger a password reset on victims’ Instagram accounts. This resulted in a message being sent by Instagram to the victims containing the reset link. Scammers then request that victims send over a screenshot of the message.

Scammers would then use the link to reset the passwords of the victims’ Instagram accounts, thereby taking over control of these accounts.

In the second version, victims would receive messages directly from unknown Instagram accounts, asking to participate in lucky draws or games with an offer of prize money.

Victims were instructed to change their Instagram email login details and forward the verification One-Time Password (OTP) received via SMS to the scammer as means of verifying the victims’ identity. Victims would subsequently lose access to their Instagram accounts.

In some cases, scammers used these compromised accounts to post investment-related scams and send direct messages to followers about them.

You are advised to adopt the following crime prevention measures:

  • Be wary of unexpected requests from strangers and social media contacts, especially on requesting for screengrabs.
  • Verify whether the account is legitimate by checking with your family and friends via different means or offline.
  • Never give out your personal, banking account details, OTPs, account reset links or any online account related information to anyone, including family and friends.
  • Set up two-factor authentication for your Instagram account.

If you have any information relating to such crimes, please call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at

If you require urgent Police assistance, please dial "999".

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688.