Instagram: How to Avoid Scams and Identity Hijacking

They impersonate Instagram’s identity and clone its website, aesthetics and communications, they try to convince you that there is a complaint against you and simultaneously send you a message with a download form through a link, the criminals know that the complaint is completely false and they know that you also know that it is false and that your motivation has to do with the unfairness of the claim and therefore the probability that you fall into the stratagem is high, definitely the discharge form is the instrument for you to deliver your access credentials.

These days, just as dangerous and deceptive, a variant that we have observed to this type of technique consists in the fact that, always with some deceitful argument, the scammers send you a link via SMS. They will then ask you not to click on the link, but simply take a screenshot and send them the image.

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The link is a legitimate URL from “forgotten password” of your account, what they want you to do is take a screenshot so they can use the URL to reset your own password and take control of the account.

It is impossible to say what the criminals will argue to convince you to take a screenshot of a link. Regardless, any request of this nature should be treated with extreme suspicion and thought about several times.

Because hooking stories were designed to trigger an emotional response, an emergency, and an instant reaction, everything comes quickly and with no room to stop.

Scams follow a pattern: they ask you for help, they tell you their backstory, and they put their fate in your hands. Here are some of the stories scammers have been known to use, both to hijack your account and trick your followers:

  • We collided on the road
  • Big face dollar change
  • I am launching my own business and/or product line
  • I am in a contest and I need you to vote for me
  • My mom is serious, they have to operate on her and I need help
  • I’m trying to verify my Instagram account and I need people to confirm my follower base with a link
  • I need a help link to access Instagram on my other phone
  • I am competing for an ambassador position in an online influencer program

Always keep in mind:

  • Don’t click on links in suspicious emails.
  • Do not send screenshots of links from unknown sources
  • Think before you click on a site that asks for login credentials via a link in a mail.
  • Do not give away personal information on networks
  • Use a password manager and second factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible
  • Password managers help prevent you from entering the correct password on the wrong site, because they can’t suggest a password for a site they’ve never seen before. 2FA makes things difficult for criminals, because the password alone is not enough to give them access to your accounts.

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