NFT Scams on Instagram: How NFT Scammers Target Artists

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The advent of blockchain technology and the subsequent rise of cryptocurrencies have heralded a new era in digital transactions. One offshoot of this phenomenon is the emergence of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), unique digital assets that are gaining widespread popularity in various sectors, including the world of art. However, with this popularity has come an increase in fraudulent activities, especially on platforms such as Instagram, where many transactions take place. Hence, understanding the types of NFT scams on Instagram and how to protect oneself is crucial for those looking to participate in this new and exciting marketplace.

Instagram, a popular social media platform known for its focus on photo and video sharing, has become a hub for artists and enthusiasts to buy and sell NFT art. For artists, Instagram provides a platform to showcase their work to thousands or even millions of users, while potential buyers can browse and purchase NFTs directly from the artists themselves. This direct artist-to-buyer marketplace has significantly contributed to the rise of NFTs.

However, the rise of NFT transactions on Instagram has also attracted a fair share of scammers looking to capitalize on the lack of regulation and the relative novelty of this digital asset class. Just as the advent of cryptocurrencies brought a wave of scams, so too has the emergence of NFTs. With the promise of high returns and the allure of owning unique digital assets, unsuspecting users can easily fall prey to these scams.

In this article, we will delve into the common types of NFT scams on Instagram, the warning signs to look out for, and the measures users can take to protect themselves from falling victim to these scams. Armed with this knowledge, you can navigate the world of NFTs with confidence and make informed decisions.

Table of Contents

Common Types of NFT Scams on Instagram

Promises of high returns or profits

As the popularity of NFTs surges, so does the rise of various scams associated with these digital assets. One common type of NFT scam on Instagram revolves around promises of high returns or profits. Scammers often lure unsuspecting individuals with the prospect of making astronomical gains from buying and selling these digital tokens. They exploit the general lack of understanding around NFTs, painting a picture of guaranteed profits and exploiting the fear of missing out. However, the unpredictable nature of the NFT market makes such guarantees dubious at best.

Fake giveaways

Fake giveaways are another common scam to look out for. In these scenarios, fraudsters claim to be giving away NFT art pieces for free or at a significantly reduced price. The catch is that they often request the payment of a ‘small fee’ for the transaction to be processed, after which they disappear without delivering the promised NFT. Such scams play on people’s attraction to getting something for nothing, or at least for little investment.

Fake celebrity endorsements

In the same vein, scammers have also been known to use fake celebrity endorsements to add a veil of legitimacy to their fraudulent schemes. Impersonating or falsely claiming association with a well-known figure in the art or entertainment industry, they try to convince potential buyers that their NFTs are genuine and valuable. Given the influence of celebrities, such scams can be quite effective in duping unsuspecting individuals.

Fake art/auctions

Another prevalent method involves selling fake art or conducting fake auctions. Scammers may create counterfeit copies of NFTs or, in some cases, claim to auction off popular NFTs. In reality, these are often low-quality imitations of original works and hold no real value in the NFT marketplace.

Fake Lotteries and Fake Airdrops

Similarly, fake lotteries and airdrops claiming to offer NFTs as prizes or rewards have been cropping up. These scams usually require individuals to perform actions like sharing a post or making a small payment to enter, only to receive nothing in return.


Phishing is also rampant in the world of NFTs. Fraudsters send out emails or messages disguised as legitimate NFT platforms or artists, attempting to trick recipients into providing sensitive information such as passwords, private keys, or financial details. Using this stolen information, the scammers can gain access to victims’ digital wallets and drain their cryptocurrency.

Selling another person’s art as NFT art

One of the most audacious scams involves selling another person’s art as NFT art. As the NFT market primarily operates on the principle of rarity and exclusivity, stealing someone else’s art and minting it as an NFT is akin to plagiarizing a physical artwork. The victim is not only the art creator, whose work has been stolen, but also the buyer, who ends up with a worthless piece of digital art. Therefore, thorough verification of the artwork and the artist is crucial before any purchase.

Credits: Art Business with Ness

In conclusion, the increasing popularity of NFTs on platforms like Instagram has given rise to numerous scams. As attractive as investing in NFTs might seem, one must be aware of these common scams and take appropriate precautionary measures to avoid falling prey to fraudulent schemes.

Warning Signs of NFT Art Scams on Instagram

Artists who refuse to answer questions

As NFTs continue to gain popularity, so do the scams associated with them, particularly on platforms like Instagram. The first warning sign to look out for is artists who refuse to answer questions. This is likely because they don’t have the knowledge or information to provide substantial answers. Legitimate artists and sellers should be more than willing to discuss their work, its origin, and its value. A lack of transparency from artists is a major red flag.

Artists who use deceptive techniques to push the sale

Equally concerning are artists who use deceptive techniques to push the sale. These can include pressure tactics, such as claiming that the offer is only available for a limited time or that it’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity that you’ll miss out on if you don’t act now. These high-pressure tactics are often used to rush buyers into making a purchase without properly assessing the risk or authenticity of the NFT.

Low-quality artwork

The quality of the artwork can also be a warning sign. Naturally, art is subjective, and what one person finds aesthetically pleasing, another might not. However, if an NFT’s artwork is of noticeably low quality or if it appears to be a quick, slapdash effort, it could be a sign that the artist isn’t invested in their work and instead is simply looking to make a quick profit from an unsuspecting buyer.

Promises of guaranteed high returns by NFT scammers

Promises of guaranteed investment returns with minimal risk should also be treated with suspicion. Investing in any asset, including NFTs, carries inherent risks. Any claim that an investment is risk-free or guaranteed to make a profit should be seen as a warning sign.

Unclear or vague promises

Unclear or vague promises are another red flag, as they can be a sign that the seller is trying to obscure the true nature or value of the NFT.

Requests for Personal Information and Money

Finally, any request for personal information, money, or payments in cryptocurrency should be taken as a serious warning sign. While many legitimate NFT transactions do indeed involve cryptocurrency, scammers will often use these payment methods because they are largely untraceable.

Unsolicited contact from supposed “investment advisors”

Similarly, unsolicited contact from supposed “investment advisors” offering to help you navigate the NFT market for a fee is typically a scam and should be avoided.

It’s vital to remain vigilant when investing in NFTs, especially on Instagram. By understanding and recognizing these warning signs, you can protect yourself from scams and ensure that your investments are legitimate and secure.

How to Protect Yourself from NFT Frauds

  • Research the artist
  • Use reputable platform
  • Verify the authenticity of the offer
  • Don’t send money
  • Beware of free offers
  • Check for scam warnings
  • Be extra cautious with celebrity endorsements
  • Avoid clicking any suspicious links
  • Ask if the artwork has been authenticated
  • Check for reviews of the artist’s work
  • Don’t be rushed into a purchase

Research the artist

The rise of NFTs on platforms like Instagram has brought about a new wave of scams. To prevent falling victim to these ploys, the first step is to conduct thorough research on the artist. Look into their past work, check their follower count, the frequency of their posts and interactions with their followers, and their overall credibility. If they have a significant online presence apart from Instagram, it could add to their legitimacy. However, be wary of newly created accounts with a large following and minimal interactions, as this could be a red flag.

Use reputable platform

Before committing to buying an NFT, do your own research. Choose to transact on websites such as OpenSea or any top OpenSea competitors or alternatives like Rarible and SuperRare, which have already been vetted by the NFT community. Additionally, the sites may provide reviews or the ability to check the NFT’s transaction history, allowing you to verify its authenticity.

Verify the authenticity of the offer

Verification of the authenticity of the offer is a critical next step. Be aware of offers that seem too good to be true, like a high-value artwork for a significantly lower price. Other red flags could include artists or sellers who pressure you to make a purchase quickly or those who make big promises with little to no risk. These tactics are often employed by scammers to lure unsuspecting victims into their traps.

Don’t send money

At no point should you be required to send money or provide personal information before an NFT transaction. A common tactic used by scammers is to ask for payment or personal information upfront, often under the guise of verifying your identity or securing the artwork. Always ensure that any payments are made through a secure platform, and avoid sharing personal information unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Beware of free offers

Beware of free offers and check for scam warnings. Often, scammers will use the allure of something for nothing to lure in potential victims. Even with free offers, there’s always a catch. It may be a request for payment details to ‘verify’ your account or an invitation to click on a suspicious link.

Check for scam warnings

Make sure to check for scam warnings on various platforms. Often, victims of scams will share their experiences to warn others.

Be extra cautious with celebrity endorsements

Furthermore, when a celebrity endorsement is involved, be extra cautious. Check if the celebrity or influencer is indeed endorsing the NFT by looking at their social media posts or official websites. Fake celebrity endorsements are a popular tactic used by scammers to gain your trust and dupe you into buying worthless or nonexistent NFTs.

Avoid clicking any suspicious links

It is important to not click any suspicious links. If the link appears to be from a suspicious website, it is best to avoid clicking it. Additionally, it is important to make sure any links that are sent by email are from a reputable source before opening them.

Ask if the artwork has been authenticated

Lastly, never rush into a purchase and always ask if the artwork has been authenticated. Scammers often create a sense of urgency to prevent you from doing thorough research. Stay firm and take your time before making a decision. Authentication is essential in the world of NFTs. An unauthenticated piece of digital art has no value in the NFT marketplaces. Also, check for reviews of the artist’s work from various sources before making a purchase.

Check for reviews of the artist’s work

Look for reviews from third-party sources, such as art critics or collectors. This can help you determine if the NFT is worth investing in.

Don’t be rushed into a purchase

No matter how excited you may be about a certain NFT, it’s important to take the time to research the item and make an educated decision. Make sure you understand all the details of the purchase and the associated risks before making a final decision.

In a technologically advanced world where digital art and NFTs are becoming increasingly popular, staying vigilant and educated is the best way to protect yourself from NFT scams.

Reporting NFT Scams

In the unfortunate event that you fall victim to an NFT fraud, it’s absolutely crucial to report it promptly. This helps protect not only yourself but also others who may be targeted by the same fraudulent schemes.

  • Contact local law enforcement

The first step in this process is to contact your local law enforcement agency. It is essential to provide them with as much information about the scam as possible, including conversations, transaction details, and any other relevant information that could aid in their investigation.

  • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission

Additionally, you should take your reporting to the next level by filing a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC is a US government agency dedicated to the protection of consumers. It investigates fraud and scams and takes appropriate action against those found guilty. You can report NFT scams to the FTC through their website, where they also provide resources on how to recognize and avoid scams. Keep in mind that, even though the FTC is based in the US, they accept reports from anywhere in the world, which only underscores their commitment to tackling the global issue of fraud.

  • Contact the platform the scam took place on

The platform on which the scam occurred should also be notified, whether it’s Instagram or another marketplace. These platforms often have strict policies against fraudulent activities and can potentially suspend or permanently ban scammers’ accounts. When reporting to these platforms, try to include as much evidence as possible, such as screenshots of the fraudulent listing, messages exchanged between you and the scammer, and transaction records. This will not only assist the platform in conducting its own internal investigation but could also help warn other users who might encounter the same scammer.

The importance of reporting these scams cannot be overstated. It’s not just about recuperating your losses; it’s about preventing others from falling into the same trap. In an increasingly digital age where fraudulent activities are constantly evolving, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that these scammers are exposed and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Remember, silence often favors the scammer. By reporting any dubious activities you encounter, you’re contributing to an atmosphere of accountability and transparency. This can, in turn, help make the world of NFTs safer for everyone.


NFT scams on Instagram are a growing menace that everyone must be vigilant against. It is crucial to understand that fraud in the world of digital assets has no boundaries and is ever-evolving. Users must exercise caution and do thorough due diligence before diving into any transactions. Make sure you understand what NFTs are, how they work, and the protocols for purchasing them.

Don’t just click and buy; do research about the artist, their work, and the legitimacy of the linked marketplace. Let’s become more informed and aware to avoid getting ensnared in these scams. If it’s your hard-earned money, it deserves your full attention. Remember, in the digital age, knowledge is power. Let us ensure that we arm ourselves with it to keep these scams at bay and have a safe and fulfilling journey in the world of NFTs. 

After all, the world of NFTs is still in its early stages, and for those willing to take the time to learn and navigate it effectively, the opportunities are vast and exciting.

How Can Artists Protect Themselves from NFT Scams on NFT Marketplaces?

Artists can safeguard against NFT scams by being vigilant on the best nft marketplaces for artists. Thoroughly researching and verifying platforms before listing their work is crucial. Artists should prioritize reputable marketplaces with strong security measures, transparent vetting processes, and robust user feedback systems. Additionally, staying informed about common NFT scams and sharing experiences within the artist community can bolster protection against fraudulent activities.


What red flags should I look for to avoid a scammer presenting a fake NFT on Instagram?

Some red flags to look out for include an unexpected offer to buy your art as well as NFTs request to pay a “gas fee” upfront. Accounts that lack history, have a small following, or use stolen pictures Too good to be true offers, such as overinflated prices for your artwork, It’s always a good practice to research any potential NFT buyer or NFT project before deciding to transact with them.

How do scammers usually initiate a “buy my art as NFT” scam via Instagram?

Typically, the scammer initiates contact by sending a direct message via Instagram. The scammer presents themselves as an investor or NFT collector and hypes a large offering in hopes of convincing the artist to have their artwork tokenized as NFTs. Be cautious of such offers and research extensively before proceeding with any alleged NFT transactions.

What is a “giveaway scam” in the NFT space, and how does it work?

A common NFT scam on Instagram and other platforms involves scammers impersonating well-known NFT owners or creators and announcing fake giveaways of valuable NFTs. They tend to manipulate artists or NFT enthusiasts into providing personal wallet details or sending crypto under the pretense of covering gas fees. Always verify the source of such information before participating in a giveaway.

What happens if I fall for an NFT scam on my Instagram account?

If you fall for an NFT scam, you may end up losing your artwork, crypto, or personal information. Scammers may use your Instagram account to perpetuate more scams or retrieve sensitive information about you. The best defense against this is to be informed, cautious, and skeptical of too-good-to-be-true offers.

How does crypto play a role in these NFT scams targeted at artists on Instagram?

Crypto plays a significant role in NFT scams as it’s the primary means to purchase NFTs. Scammers may request that artists pay upfront in crypto, often disguising it as gas fees or security deposits. Once received, they disappear, leaving the artist at a loss. It is important to only send crypto when you have duly verified the authenticity of the NFT buyer or project.

What is the significance of the term “gas fee” in the NFT market, and how is it used in scams?

The gas fee is a term used in the Ethereum network, which is often the platform of choice for creating NFTs. It’s essentially the cost required to process a transaction. Scammers often use the term misleadingly to ask for upfront payment under the guise of covering this gas fee, only to disappear once payment is received.

What can Instagram do to protect artists from falling for NFT scams?

Instagram, like other platforms, employs various measures to protect its users, including verifying accounts, suspending suspicious accounts, and providing guidelines and awareness about potential scams. The platform has capabilities to track and remove such scammers, but it’s also essential that users remain vigilant.

How do “investor scams” operate in the NFT space on Instagram?

Investor scams typically involve someone posing as a potential investor or buyer for your NFTs. They may use high-pressure sales tactics, make unrealistic return promises, or ask for upfront payments or personal information. Always verify before you decide to involve anyone posing as an investor in the NFT space.

How prevalent are these NFT scams directed at artists on Instagram?

Though there isn’t specific data available, reports suggest that NFT scams are on the rise, given the recent surge in the NFT market’s popularity. Fake NFT offers, impersonation scams, phishing, and other fraudulent activities have become more common. Artists are often targeted due to their drive to find new marketplaces and audiences for their work.

What preliminary steps should artists take before diving into the NFT market, especially on platforms like Instagram?

Artists should first educate themselves about NFTs—how they work, their value proposition, and the risks involved. They should familiarize themselves with cryptography and blockchain technology, as these are integral to NFT transactions. Moreover, prior to selling art as NFTs via Instagram or any other platform, proper research should be done to verify the authenticity of the prospective buyer or investor.

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