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A Bizarre Crypto Scam Is Making Rounds On Instagram

Instagram hackers are hacking user accounts and tricking people into buying Bitcoins with a new cryptocurrency scam. 

The random cyber-attacks lock people out of the app. They then change their password and post testimonials that state brokers have made profits for them by investing in Bitcoin for them. This one stands out because hackers have even forced users to send vlogs of themselves assuring their followers that the investment is ‘real.’ This is what has been termed as a digital hostage situation. 

crypto scam

Sliding into DMs

The ploy has been around since late last year, but it has seen a surge in Australia in 2022. There has been an influx of new cases recently. The scam starts with an unexpected message from the hackers sent from a friend’s account. It can be something like “I need help,” and you fall for it because you assume it is your friend. Then they ask you to send your number and receive the link. When you do as your “friend” asks you to, they change your login details. And you, at times, end up believing even a ‘reset your Instagram password’ link since it is coming from a friend you trust.

A tiring task 

Once they hack your account, they promote Bitcoin on the feed, and you are locked out of your account. Then, you have to go through the app’s identity verification process of sending an email with a selfie holding a paper with a unique code that the social media customer service team provides to you. They also seep into other people’s accounts through your account; mutuals get swept up along the way and are hacked after receiving messages from your account. They make posts with absurd captions like ‘I can’t believe my eyes, I made all this money.

Evolving ways 

The idea of compromising social media accounts has been around for a while now, but hackers are getting creative now and finding new ways to loot people out of their money. 

The tactics have been the same for the last five years or more. They gain access to people’s accounts and promote their scams, so the followers of that account would be convinced to click on something suspicious because they trust that person.

You can prevent falling victim to phishing by following the below-stated steps: 

● Set up a multi-factor authentication

● Use a password manager to generate unique login details for different accounts

● Consider going private

However, you cannot completely cancel out the possibility of you falling for the cryptocurrency scam; it can happen to anyone if your guard is down. In these instances, when SMS codes are crown jewels, be alert and skeptical when people ask for your personal details- hackers are often after trust and goodwill.

Scammers impersonate influencers to entice followers into shady crypto schemes. They create accounts under an influencer’s name, profile photo, and content and also post pictures of their family and children to trick fans into thinking that the person behind them is genuine. This is the setup for swindling the fans of an influencer.

Data by the FTC shows that the money lost to social media scams was generally paid through cryptocurrency than any other payment method. Instagram was the most common social media platform identified in crypto fraud reports. It accounted for about 32% of fraud cases on social networks, followed by Facebook with 26% of social media fraud reports.

It is not surprising that people between the ages of 20 and 49 were more than three times more likely to report different types of cryptocurrency scams as compared to their older counterparts. Younger people are also more likely to believe in crypto and be active on social media and actually end up investing.

The scammers make posts, take out ads, or send direct messages via these platforms and tout fake investment opportunities. They promise huge returns but unsurprisingly, the money never comes. 

How to steer clear of crypto scams?

Cryptocurrency investments are generally unregulated, and there are not many guardrails in place to protect consumers from bad actors. In addition, it does not help that amateur investors are usually unfamiliar with the workings of cryptocurrency. And there are no banks or investment firms involved that can pick out fraudulent transactions, and there is no deposit insurance either. You cannot reverse a transfer either. Once the transaction is done, there stands little chance that you will get it back. 

Fortunately, there are resources that can help spot common crypto scams and stay away from them. If your friend has suddenly gotten excited about some crypto, do not trust them immediately. Check the crypto out for yourself before putting in any money. 

In Conclusion,

Know that cryptocurrency is an extremely volatile asset, and no one can guarantee profits, not even the creators of the asset. Do not trust the “opportunity” even if your “friend” is promising big and quick returns without risk. The whole “guarantee” thing is a farce since there is no guarantee in cryptocurrency or any investment market for that matter. 

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