(WKRG) — For those with Instagram, you know it can be addictive. And communicating with other users is really simple. But now scammers are using that as a tool to get their hands in your pocketbooks.
“This is a setup. And I want people to know you can’t do this,” says Gladys Thornton.
Gladys Thornton got a weird message from someone pretending to be Reba McEntire. The message says “I’m looking for someone I can definitely trust” cause she has a few things she wants to do “without my management knowing”. Then she says the security company holding her briefcase with $200 million is closing, and wants Thornton to help her hold on to it for a while. The catch: Thornton has to pay for the shipment fee, but is promised to be paid back with interest! And then the scammer asks for Thornton’s name, address and cell phone number.
Luckily, she didn’t fall for it, but experts say there’s a way to tell if a celebrity account is real or fake.
“Make sure you look for that blue seal next to their name before you start following someone because that’s when scams can take place whenever you start following a fake celebrity,” says Sgt. Josh Rhodes with Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.
This is what the real Reba McEntire profile looks like, you can see the seal there to the right of her name. Thornton says she was contacted by the profile Reba122. The scammer uses the same profile picture—notice there is no seal next to it—and they’ve even copied the profile bio and all the pictures, so it can be convincing.
“It makes me angry. You know, you have to have sense enough about you refuse it and there are people out there who, just because it says it’s Reba McEntire, they would take her at her word!” says Thornton.
Experts say be careful and only talk with people you know or have verified accounts.