Cross-platform messaging scam making a comeback | #datingscams | #lovescams | #facebookscams

What’s old is new again in a reemerging social media scam impacting Facebook and Instagram messenger users.

The scam

In recent weeks there has been an uptick in fake profiles messaging Facebook users through Instagram. The scammer will duplicate a real profile using that accounts Facebook profile image and send messages to the real profile’s Facebook friends using the cross-platform messaging function on Instagram. Typically, the initial message will be “Hello how are you doing.”

If you respond to the message, you may be asked about a grant program or specifically a COVID relief program. The scammer may provide a link or an email address for more information.

How to identify it

There are a few ways to easily identify if the message being sent to you is legitimate without opening the message. The profile name will typically be misspelled. It might have an extra letter or two in the last name or at the end, making it easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. The message is sent from an Instagram account, so check your friend’s Instagram profile picture to be sure it matches the one in the message. The scammer will use the Facebook profile image to create the account. Again, it’s another thing that’s easy to overlook since you’re receiving the message on Facebook messenger.


Because the scammer creates a new Instagram profile, no amount of safety precautions on your account can prevent that specifically from happening. You should still use two-factor authentication, Facebook protect and frequent password changes to prevent other issues. What you can do is make two changes to keep the scammer from messaging you and your Facebook friends.

  • Turn off cross-platform messaging. This is the feature that allows messages to be sent to your Facebook messenger from Instagram. In messenger, go to preferences – manage message delivery- how you get message requests and in the section “Other people” select “don’t receive message requests” for others on Instagram
  • Change who can view your Facebook friends. In your Facebook settings, go to settings – privacy- how people can find and contact you and change who can see your friends list to “only me.”

While there is no way to avoid spam and scammers completely on social media, you can safeguard your accounts and ignore messages that seem unusual.

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