Over the past two months, we've been seeing it. You have as well: your favorite Instagram thirst trap has followed you back. Their account has just a few followers and they are also now in the OnlyFans game. It seems a bit too good to be true.
Well, it probably is buddy!
Over the past few weeks, we have seen a dramatic uptick in the number of bot controlled catfish accounts on Instagram. And though anecdotal evidence isn't data, that we've seen it and everyone we've spoken to has also seen it we feel comfortable saying that there's a definite rise in the scam. the idea is simple: take a few sexy photos from someone's well-followed account, repost said photos on a new account that basically mirrors theirs — underscores in the name help to differentiate often — and include a link in bio. The accounts then go and follow people who are following the person it's impersonating.
The scheme relies on a few things including how fast Instagram goes in general — if you're scrolling really fast and you see a handle and face that seem familiar you're likely to just follow back, particularly if you've already been following the person and thirsting after them. It also, in part, relies on Instagram's tendency to ban sexy accounts. Your favorite thirst trap getting suspended and having to start anew with a slightly altered name is far from unheard of.
The scam uses this to get you to eventually click some link or sign up from service where they can either get access to your bank details — as with a scam that was circulating on Grindr a few years ago — or access to your account — as with what happened to Tom of Finland Foundation.
Not having it happen to you just takes paying attention to be frank: if you can remember the original handle of the account, search it to see if its still active. If so, this is probably a scam. If there's only three photos and none of them contain some sort of "Instagram deleted my account" caption it's probably a scam. And check the links as well: if it's supposed to be an OnlyFans link or JustForFans link and the URL it sends you to is not OnlyFans.com or JustFor.Fans then it's a scam.
Both OnlyFans and Just For Fans have disavowed the scam and said they are working against it.
“A url at http://wixsite.com is pretending to be a number of fan platforms, including us. They may use our banner, but the url is http://wixsite.com, not us,” JustForFans wrote on Twitter. “It’s fake. We’re trying to stop it from happening, but please contact them directly if they are using your image.”
If you find some sort of catfish account in the wild, you should report it for impersonation and flag it to the person its impersonating accordingly — you may need to screenshot it and send it to them as many times they are blocked.