Cybercriminals are forcing victims to actively participate in scams: Instagram accounts hijacked and video as ransom demanded for cryptocurrency frauds

Instagram Scam Blackmail Phishing Victims Video
old tricks, new scam. Pic credit: Jason Howie/Flickr

Yet another sinister scam is gradually spreading on the internet. Its effectiveness seems high because cybercriminals are forcing victims to actively participate if they want their hijacked Instagram account back.

Scammers running cryptocurrency frauds are using multiple, yet traditional, techniques to trap unsuspecting Instagram users. These fraudsters are apparently forcing victims to create multimedia content to perpetuate the scam further.

Instagram accounts held hostage until the victim makes video helping cybercriminals trap others:

A scam that reiterates the need for tighter account security is spreading on Instagram. Scammers are relying on traditional but still highly effective methods to first trap popular Instagram users.

Scammers are reportedly using a combination of social engineering, cryptocurrency, and old-fashioned blackmail. Cybercriminals are particularly interested in Instagram account holders with a lot of followers.

The scammers first get hold of an Instagram user’s account information, including username and login. There are a number of ways to obtain the same, of course illegally.

A phishing link with a fake login page or simply testing out passwords that leak with alarming regularity often offer the required information. Once the fraudsters successfully hijack the account, they establish contact with the account holder.

This is where the scam gets interesting. Scammers demand the victim make a video promoting get-rich-quick schemes. These often involve cryptocurrency investments.

Scammers promise to return control of the hijacked account if victims create a convincing video of themselves extolling the virtues and benefits of the schemes.

How is an Instagram video helping cryptocurrency scammers make money?

The video is critical in helping the scam seem and sound legitimate. The video often contains the victim claiming the cybercriminals are their friends.

This supposedly lends credibility and helps fraudsters trap victims. Needless to mention, this scam is scary because it forces the victim to become an active participant in stealing from their followers.

Cryptocurrencies, be it Bitcoin, Binance, DogeCoin, etc. are rapidly gaining prominence in mainstream media. This makes Social Media users an ideal target for scams that promise to simplify investment and assure huge returns.

It is not immediately clear why Instagram account holders are giving in to the demands of the fraudsters. It is easy to regain control of an Instagram account.

There are multiple ways to get back a compromised account. Nonetheless, such scams strongly reiterate using Multi-Factor Authentication or at least Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) to secure online accounts. Additionally, use secure, strong, and unique passwords for every account.

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