Be alert when using Instagram – you can fall victim to fraud and your account can be hijacked.
Senast ändrad: 2023-01-24
Instagram is by far one of the most popular social media platforms, no matter which generation you belong to. “Insta” is used to share images, videos, and stories. A story can be an image, video, or live broadcast that is posted and then disappears after 24 hours. As a user, you can decide whether you want your account to be public or private. If you choose to have it public, everyone can see what you post. If you choose to keep it private, only your followers can access your images, videos, and live broadcasts. We describe the most common scams below.
This is how it can work: established Instagram accounts from the accounts of well-known brands are copied by fraudsters, who create fake special offers, ads, and competitions to entice users to click on links to fake websites. These accounts have often “bought” fake followers, i.e. it looks as if the account has lots of followers, in order to improve its credibility and look like the genuine account. The goods they offer at favourable prices are either pirated or are never delivered to the buyer. These accounts will often also offer “give-aways”, which may be free products or trips. All that is requested in return is that you visit the website and register. What happens when you visit these fake websites is that your personal information is stolen. You will never receive any product or prize.
Fraudsters often send emails claiming to be from Instagram. In these emails, they ask you to verify your account due to suspicious activity, or as part of a routine check. You are referred to a fake website, where you have to verify your email address and password. This enables the fraudsters to get hold of your personal information and hijack your account. Never disclose your information via insecure links or websites.
One common method is that fraudsters entice users with improbable special offers or attractive investment promises, so-called investment scams. Fraudsters can paint a picture of a safe investment, such as a sum of money that will generate a big return. These are fake promises, and the fraudsters disappear as soon as the money has been deposited. Such investment scams include: cash flipping scams, Ponzi schemes, or get-rich-quick schemes.
Fake job advertisements are another common way for fraudsters to access personal information or trick you out of money. Avoid clicking on job advertisements that sound too good to be true, or if the sender of the advertisement tells you to pay something in advance. When you click on a link for a job advertisement, you must be aware of where you end up. If you sense that the site has no connection to the original job advertisement, or if the site asks for sensitive information (e.g. an authority ID) but does not use secure (https) browsing, then it is very likely to be a scam.
Romance fraudsters often send romantic messages to people they do not know, claiming that they are divorced, widowed or are in some kind of difficulty. These fraudsters are patient and can work people for weeks, months or even years to achieve their aims. In the end, the fraudsters gain the trust and romantic affection of the victim. Once the fraudster feels that trust has been gained and that a “romantic relationship” has been established, the request for money arrives. It may be money for a flight ticket or a visa that has to be paid for, or maybe an unforeseen expense has cropped up. The fraudster always promises that the money will be repaid as soon as you meet, or the next day. Never give money to people you have never met or do not know well, no matter the alleged reason.