Schemers Targeting Instagram Users

AUSTIN, TX -- A KVUE Defenders investigation uncovered a scam targeting young Instagram users. The scam involves pictures celebrities post on the social media app and comments made by fake fans trying to lure users into stealing their money.

Kamryn Diaz, a 14-year-old from Austin, noticed the enticing comments a few months ago while checking out one of Kim Kardashian's Instagram pictures.

The Instagram user, "MAKEUMONEY_CHRISS," wrote, "Real People Making Real Money Guaranteed" on Kardashian's picture.

When Diaz clicked on his account, it went to dozens of people holding wads of cash.

"He had like 700 posts of him and money and his stuff," Diaz said.

In each picture, there's a cell phone number to call to learn more. Diaz didn't call, but the KVUE Defenders did. A man who identifies himself as "Chris" picked up the phone. He says he lives in in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

He instructed the Defenders to purchase a Vanilla Reload and debit card. It's similar to a bank debit card that can be purchased at many stores.

Once KVUE News gets a card, we are then supposed to add money to it. All we have to do is scratch off the back, and give him the security PIN. By doing so, it gives him access to all the money on the card.

"Once I access that account with that information, and the time on the receipt when the card was purchased, I'm gonna simply add zeroes. Once I add a zero to that amount, it's going to turn hundreds into thousands," said Chris.

Essentially, Chris claims he can turn $200 on a Vanilla Reload card into $2,000 simply by adding a zero to the total through a computer program.

KVUE News: "So, you hack into their software, and you add a zero?"

Chris: "Right, basically."

KVUE News: "Is this legal?"

Chris: "It's, it's, it's, it's…I want to say it's not totally illegal. It's not like you're gonna get caught or anything."

"So, essentially, in laymen's terms, I'm jail breaking the system," said Chris.

When KVUE News questions whether he's operating a scam, Chris hangs up the phone.

Sgt. John Rowe with the Round Rock Police Department says Chris is a fake.

"It's another ingenious scam on the internet," said Rowe, who works in the White-Collar Crime Unit at the department.

Rowe says the moment users give away that PIN on the back of the card, scammers wipe and steal the money linked to the card.

"So, when you give it to the bad guy, he has that pin and he can now transfer that money, access it anywhere he would like," said Rowe.

Rowe says it's clear scammers are targeting young Instagrammers who won't report the crime because it's typically a low dollar amount, and they'd be admitting they were complicit in a crime.

The young Diaz didn't fall for the scheme. But she knows people have, so she had some wise words of advice for Instagram users of all ages "If you can get easy money and its too good to be true, then it most likely is too good to be true."


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