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Scam alert: Do not click that Instagram “gift” message; users risk getting their accounts hacked

Instagram users are getting conned and having their accounts hacked simply by clicking a link in the form of a gift.

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Singapore – With all the ongoing scams attracting victims to click a random website, members of the public are urged to refrain from tapping on suspicious-looking links, even though “it took the sender a few hours to make.”

Instagram users are getting conned and having their accounts hacked simply by clicking a link in the form of a gift.

The message reads, “This took me 3 hours to make. I hope you like it, Look: (insert link).”

At first glance, the message looks like a gift by another Instagram user who edited some photos for the recipient and asked them to check it out.

However, once that attached link is clicked, scammers can quickly gain access to the user’s account and then use that account to send the same message to other followers, making it appear more personal.

There are no gifts involved. Instead, the hackers access the account’s password even though the user wasn’t prompted to input the details.

A Straits Times report on Friday (Feb 18) noted that Instagram users have been receiving the message recently.

Those who receive this suspicious message can report the incident to Instagram. Recipients can click on the sender’s profile, tap on the three dots at the upper right-hand corner, select “Report” and “Report account.”

Instagram users can then choose “It’s posting content that shouldn’t be on Instagram”, followed by the “Misleading or possible scam” option.

The sender’s account can also be permanently blocked by repeating the first two steps and choosing “block.”

Meanwhile, users who have already clicked the link are advised to change their passwords immediately and activate two-factor authentication (2FA) to increase their account security.

According to Instagram, scams happen on the platform when people create fake accounts or hack into existing Instagram accounts you’ve followed.

“The scammers use these fake or compromised accounts to trick you into giving them money or personal information.”

“Instagram will never send you direct messages about your account in the Instagram app,” it added.

Instagram has been used for scams such as romance, lottery, loans, false investments, jobs, credit card fraud and phishing.

More information on the things to watch out for regarding possible scams can be found here./TISG

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