An article about the Instagram imposters committing fraud and identity theft in the occult and spiritual community.
The fake accounts seem to be focused primarily on those who have seen their followings and popularity grow, like Mat Auryn, whose first published work, Psychic Witch soared to the top of Pagan book sale lists in 2020 & 2021, marking 100K copies sold just recently.
Auryn explained how the impersonations and the attempts at defrauding his followers began to evolve, “The first account that impersonated me was near the beginning of the pandemic. Slowly this began increasing to occur maybe once every few months, where a new account would pop up impersonating me. Eventually, it increased to once a month, and then almost weekly.”
Auryn said, “Trying to get them taken down is like throwing dice. Unfortunately, since Meta bought Instagram, the customer service is non-existent, like it is on Facebook. It’s next to impossible to get a hold of an actual human to discuss these issues.”
Auryn related some of his frustrating experiences trying to get pages removed, “I’m still getting notifications about an account I reported almost a year ago. To paraphrase the contradictory message, ‘we didn’t have time to look at it, but we didn’t find anything wrong, so we’re leaving it up.’ I have one imposter account that’s been up for almost a year despite having at least hundreds of people reporting it for impersonation.”
“As the problem increases, I’m not sure what is actually effective anymore to get these accounts taken down. It’s hard not to believe that Instagram doesn’t care about its users and is benefiting from these accounts being active.” He explained, “What I mean, is that you can block these accounts and even put ‘block any new accounts they make’ which means they [Instagram] have the ability to see the IP address and which accounts are connected to the scammers.”
Auryn continued and pointed out one of the major problems with that approach, “Often when a scammer account is taken down, they just create new profiles impersonating someone else. [This] means Instagram seems to have the ability to weed these individuals off their platform but are seemingly choosing not to.”
One of the things that many of those who have been targeted cited as a reason is the difficulty with Pagan authors’ accounts being verified on social media platforms. The elusive “blue star” and verified “checkmark” are rarely extended to independent authors, and few if any Pagan authors.
For Auryn another unpleasant side effect is all of the messages he receives from followers when a fake account pops up, “One of the frustrating things, is not just all the people being scammed through impersonating myself and others – but the hundreds to thousands of direct messages I get from people either informing me of imposter accounts or asking me if the imposter accounts are really me. It’s gotten so bad at flooding my DMs that I’ve shut my DMs off completely.”
Read the full article here: https://wildhunt.org/2022/06/copycat-accounts-affecting-many-pagans.html