In the middle of a yoga class last March, Alina Leasenco said she noticed her phone was being inundated with notifications.
She hadn’t made any recent posts.
Curious, she unlocked it and found several messages from friends telling her to check Instagram.
Her photos and name had been used to create a second profile, stealing her likeness to advertise faked adult content in the hopes of scoring credit card information from duped subscribers.
Leasenco is one of many targets of the scam that not only appropriates a person’s identity, but commodifies their body as bait to swindle their followers.
She said her first duplicated profile was quickly taken down after being reported, but that she sees other people targeted in the same way.
“It happens all the time, it happens every day, I see somebody saying, ‘Hey, can you please report this account? It’s not me,'” Leasenco said.