Imagine logging into Instagram and searching your name to find more than a dozen imposter accounts pushing crypto scams while pretending to be you. That’s been Jason Sallman’s nightmare for the past several years.
Sallman describes himself as a “crypto-evangelist” and a lot of the content he posts includes images of Bitcoin.
The photo below is from Jason’s real instagram account, @JasonSallman.
But if you type “Jason Sallman” into Instagram’s search engine, you will likely see many other accounts using his images under handles that are often some variation of his name.
Jason Sallman said scammers are stealing his photos to create accounts that impersonate him on Instagram.
Sallman estimates he’s had more than 500 imposters over the past few years and said he’s seen up to 25 active Instagram imposters at once. He says going through the process of finding and reporting them all to Instagram can feel like a full-time job.
“There’s a little function inside of Instagram where you can report an account,” Sallman said. “And then they’ll review it and sometimes it could take them as little as two hours to respond, sometimes it takes days, sometimes they never respond.”
Imposters have brazenly stolen photos featuring Sallman with his wife and family, and have even tagged his wife in new posts under a fake account.
One of Sallman’s impersonators @jasonsallman.passive.income.fx has stolen several photos of Sallman with his wife and tagged her in the captions @jessicasallman.
“It’s super creepy and they’ll even sometimes make up their own captions for things like, “Oh, I’m so happy with my family now that I made all this money from mining.”
After Sallman posted a photo with producers taken at CNBC’s first interview with him, scammers have reposted the pic and have been bold enough to tag the network’s staffers who were filming with Sallman while covering the imposter story.
Sallman’s imposters have even stolen a photo he took with CNBC producers. This one was was re-posted by imposter @_jasonsallmann.
But the stolen picture problem is bigger than just copyright infringement. Many of the imposter accounts appear to be run by scammers who engage with other Instagram users pretending to be Jason via direct messages. Hidden behind pictures of Sallman’s face they push bogus crypto-investment schemes with the intent to lure in unsuspecting IG users and steal thousands of dollars from them.
Sallman told CNBC victims of the impostor accounts track down his real account several times a week demanding he return their money.
“I’ve gotten threats like, ‘I’m gonna kill you, I’m gonna beat you up.’ Sallman said. “They’re like, ‘I know where you live.’ and all these type of …….