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What is Instagram phishing and how to stop it
Cybersecurity· 7 minutes
Phishing is considered one of the most popular ways to hack accounts on Instagram. The hackers testify to the ease with which they take control of specific accounts to meet their own personal ends. The process begins with creating a fake login page that tricks people into logging in with their factual information. In addition, phishing is especially dangerous since it can lead the hackers to the victims' connected accounts since more people use the same or somewhat similar passwords for all their online accounts. Also, this stolen data can be monetized or even sold on the Dark Web. The scariest part is that the victim will have no idea that they have been hit. Life will go on as if nothing ever happened.
How does Instagram phishing occur?
The scammers attempt to hijack our identity and take control of our personal accounts. It usually involves a message from the scammer that attempts to persuade the user to take action. These fraudulent messages are disguised as renowned brands to keep up that Illusion of authenticity. By mimicking established brands, they gain trust and trick users into providing their personal information.
Instagram has officially identified the following ways scammers use to hijack accounts:
Fraudsters attempt to gain trust by utilizing flirting and seduction. Once trust is gained, they ask us to invest money into their schemes.
Winning the lottery
Scammers attempt to ask us for a small fee in exchange for letting us have our winnings.
Loans and Jobs
Bogus job offers and lucrative loans and earning cash offers.
Cash flipping scams, accounts asking us to make small investments for greater future rewards.
These scammers will attempt to deceive us by asking us to pay money for accessing special services like music and templates.
Influencer sponsor and ambassadors
The accounts will attempt to lure users by informing them they have been chosen to represent a particular brand. They will scam money out of unsuspecting victims by asking them about their banking details or paying a joining fee.
Phishing emails/ Scams
Suspicious-looking emails will inform us that unauthorized activity has been detected on our accounts. The email will provide us with a link to login and verify. Once we login using our password and usernames, the scammers will immediately access that information.
Giveaways and contests
These private messages will ask us about our login details, bank information or to provide them with our personal address to receive giveaways and gifts.
How do we detect Instagram phishing attacks?
As clearly demonstrated by the above examples, we can see that Instagram phishing mainly relies on "fishing for trust" and manipulating unsuspecting victims with deceptive behavior. We hear of Instagram hackings and seldom think of that happening to us, but if we are not careful, we could be easily coerced and manipulated into becoming victims. It is also essential to remember that these scammers do not immediately launch attacks once they access our accounts and data. It could take months before they launch their evil schemes.
In addition to that, the most important thing to look out for is that all these will involve an “ask.” That is, this is considered the biggest red flag. Also, the scammer will always ask us to do something or carry out a task that makes us pause and think, “whoa! That does not sound right at all!” Trusting our gut instinct is the best way to save ourselves from these potential attacks.
What can we do if we have been phished on Instagram?
In case we become one of the unfortunate victims of Instagram phishing attacks, there are some steps we can take to lessen the burden of the damage. Therefore, these steps are necessary because these scammers can steal our identity, our money, gain access to personal documents, unpublished work, project details, spread malware and inappropriate content to our friends and family. By taking the following steps, we can restrict the hacker from doing any further damage.
It is essential to look at everything and anything we do not remember doing or purchasing. A scammer gaining access to our information could be dangerous. Also, the victim can suffer financial losses. Therefore, it's important to check for any small purchases that usually might not catch our eye. These manipulators are brilliant. They will not drain our bank account as soon as they have access. They will spend it gradually and slowly to remain undetected.
Change all passwords
It is the next crucial step. Since most people use similar passwords (which is never a good idea) for all their online accounts. Thus, it is easy for hackers to access our other accounts. Ensuring that we have secured all our social accounts, emails, any websites that we shop from, or any other service (e.g., Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu) will restrict the scammer from doing any further damage. Additionally, replace all the previous passwords with unique ones entirely dissimilar from those you were previously using.
Freezing our credit
Scammers will sometimes create new bank accounts. It is wise to ensure that your credit scores are not looking suspicious. This is another excellent technique to restrict the scammer.
Recovering our hacked account
This is another point to keep in mind during the recovery process. Once the hackers have complete control over our account, they will immediately change all passwords and usernames to stop us from gaining access to it again. Instagram offers users an option to “get help signing in.” Once we follow these additional steps, we will regain access.
Reporting suspecting hacks and scams to Instagram
Making sure that we report any suspicious accounts we encounter in the future to Instagram. This will help lessen the number of scammers crowding Instagram.
How do we avoid Instagram phishing attacks?
Along with familiarizing ourselves with all the ways phishing can occur, as identified by Instagram, there are some other things we can watch out for. Before granting any app authorization, make sure to go through the permissions. Hackers and scammers use this strategy to gain access to our personal information. Furthermore, keeping the 2-step verification always turned on will provide us with an added layer of security.
Never authorize any suspicious-looking apps or accounts that promise to increase our follower counts instantly. Only download apps from official websites and trusted stores. Never click on suspicious-looking links or download attachments. Furthermore, look out for apps with hundreds of positive reviews, which could also be a red flag. If someone you know sends you a strange text, contact them directly and let them know what transpired.
Ways to strengthen security against Instagram phishing
When it comes to phishing, the importance of internet security software should not be downplayed. It is vital to have good internet security software installed on our computer. Also, this extra layer of security will save us some valuable tears in the future. Our security plan needs to include:
This software is specially designed to protect our personal details such as emails and passwords from junk emails. Also, the software can evolve and differentiate between genuine and junk emails.
This software is designed to spot even the stealthiest malware and phishing emails. This software is continuously updated to become more efficient at detecting potential threats. With technology rapidly evolving and phishing threats becoming more deadlier and more vital than ever, it is essential to own intelligent software that learns with time.
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A virtual private network encrypts our internet activity and conceals our IP address. This lets us enjoy all the digital privacy we want! Now we are browsing the internet anonymously. A VPN like VPN Proxy Master will contribute to making our identity and data extra secure. It will help prevent any scammers from intercepting our passwords.
With cyberattacks and phishing on the rise, Virtual Private Networks are becoming increasingly popular. Their ability to immediately encrypt data and connection routing via remote and secure servers makes them essential in strengthening your online security. VPN Proxy Master is one of the most secure and reliable VPNs out there to help you browse the internet securely. Keep in mind to boost your cybersecurity.