May 29, 2022

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He was cheated and banned from his Instagram account

He was cheated and banned from his Instagram account

“I feel like I’m usually very careful about what I print on social media, so of course you get upset when something like that happens,” Aslak Sverdrup tells TV 2.

Case reported: Sverdrup wires reported the case to the police. Photo: Mathias Kleiveland / TV 2

Just before Christmas, Bergen Aquarium CEO Selek Sverdrup and artist Slava Nimes were denied their Instagram accounts. TV 2 knows dozens of Norwegians, who have recently been deprived of their accounts – both private and company accounts.

– I’ve experienced that when it first happens, there’s no help to get it, says Sverdrup.

The method and procedures are the same for everyone TV2 spoke to.

TV 2 was in contact with the person behind it. See their answer further down in the issue.

This is how you do it

– It starts with someone you like to know on Instagram, sends you a message and asks for your phone number. What you often don’t know is that the person who sent you the message no longer controls their Instagram account, says Sverdrup and adds:

– It is not surprising that an acquaintance on Instagram asks for your phone number in a message.

When you give your phone number, you suddenly receive an SMS on your phone with a code. By sending this code back, they were able to take over your Instagram profile.

Graphics: This is how you go about the conversation on Instagram before you get banned from your account.  The image is a drawing based on a real conversation.  Photo: Graphics / TV 2

Graphics: This is how you go about the conversation on Instagram before you get banned from your account. The image is a drawing based on a real conversation. Photo: Graphics / TV 2

– You also get a message on Whatsapp or other places, where they ask you for money to get their account back. Slava Nimes, who was also denied her account, says the amount could range from 30 euros to 2,000 euros.

Aslak Sverdrup (left) and Slava Nemes (right) are both angry against the Meta for lack of help after they were denied their accounts.  Photo: Mathias Kleiveland / TV 2

Aslak Sverdrup (left) and Slava Nemes (right) are both angry against the Meta for lack of help after they were denied their accounts. Photo: Mathias Kleiveland / TV 2

Once they take over your account, they start sending messages to others in your followers list via your Instagram account. Then others deceive in the same way by dialing the phone number. And so it goes on – until more are deceived.

Instagram and Meta . criticize

– The problem appears when you are facing not getting help from Instagram. I’ve tried contacting Instagram in several ways via the automatic help center, but I’ve tried that there’s no answer to get, says Sverdrup.

Many like TV 2 have spoken to the races about the lack of help from Meta, which owns both Instagram and Facebook. Some even have an Instagram business account and pay more each month – without getting help.

Sverdrup and Nemes sent dozens of messages to the automated services on Instagram in anticipation of help from Meta.

A big company like Meta should have a good enough system to help others if things like this happen. Because it happens! They are fully aware of this. Their tactic is not to have a response system, says Sverdrup, because it would be overwhelming.

Do you know more about this issue? Or was she in a similar situation? Contact the journalist at [email protected], or coded via Signal at +4794174647.

Instagram: Aslak Sverdrup got his account back, but he's worried that more people might be scammed from his Instagram account.  Photo: Mathias Kleiveland / TV 2

Instagram: Aslak Sverdrup got his account back, but he’s worried that more people might be scammed from his Instagram account. Photo: Mathias Kleiveland / TV 2

In the end, Sverdrup chose to contact LinkedIn’s Meta management.

– Half an hour later, my account suddenly came back. Then I got an email that I can reset my password again, he says.

In the meantime, those behind it were able to send more messages and cheat more via both Sverdrup and Nemes accounts.

Meta Answers

Now Sverdrup and Neme’s response from Meta invokes why there is no easier way to contact them.

TV 2 has been in touch with Meta and asked the following questions:

TV 2 has been in touch with Meta and asked the following questions:

  • Numerous races against Instagram/Facebook for lack of customer service and following up when something like this happens. Some people simply think that it seems impossible to get help. What do you think of this?
  • Why is there no opportunity on Instagram/Facebook to follow when someone is hacked?
  • Business accounts pay a lot of money to have an Instagram/Facebook business account. Why don’t companies have the opportunity to get customer service services on Instagram/Facebook when they are paying to use their products and services?
  • Is Instagram/Facebook aware of the hacking issue? What do you do to avoid such accidents?
  • Does Instagram/Facebook Have Routines to Track Hackers? What are the consequences of that?
  • Does Instagram/Facebook have any responsibility for this issue?

Meta doesn’t answer all questions specifically, but it does answer the following in an email:

– We have recently seen several situations where people’s profiles have been hacked. So Meta recently did an ongoing campaign to encourage people to do two-step billing, as well as secure their passwords, says communications manager Regitze Reech in the northern part of Meta.

It further explains that hacking almost always occurs via a mail account and not via Meta platforms.

The hackers then use the access they get via the email account to control the victim’s social media profile to pressure the potential owner to get money, spread publicity, or sell unstructured goods from the profile.

– If someone feels that their account has been hacked, they should go to https://www.facebook.com/hacked To report the account, our team will investigate the matter.

Hacker: – I like to communicate with Norwegians

After Aslak Sverdrup and Slava Nemes were denied their account, they were contacted on Whatsapp.  Photo: screenshot

After Aslak Sverdrup and Slava Nemes were denied their account, they were contacted on Whatsapp. Photo: screenshot

TV 2 does not know the identity of the person behind it, but tried to contact the person via the Whatsapp number that was used. We asked several questions about why the person in question would do this, whether it only applies to Norwegians and where the money is going.

It is not easy to find out the motive, but the person answers:

– I can’t tell you why I’m doing this, but you can trust that I’m doing a good job.

Communication is an important part of my job. I like to communicate with Norwegians. That’s why I do this with the Norwegians, but that could change. Sometimes I do this with the Swedes – sometimes with the Danes.

How do you protect yourself

Aslak Sverdrup and a number of others reported the case, but recently received a response from the police that the case was dropped.

– I think it is unfortunate that the case was closed so quickly because it is clearly organized and contains elements of both identity theft and extortion and may fall under the definition of organized crime, says Sverdrup.

Police advice:

Rune Fimreite at the Online Patrol in the West Police District encourages everyone to activate the two-step factor on their social media accounts. This means that even if someone knows your password, they will not be able to access your account.

My best advice is: act in advance. Don’t wait until the accident is over. Fimreite for TV 2 says the two-step factor is very important.

Other than that, Internet Patrol recommends using different passwords on different social media platforms in case a password leak occurs. But if you’re supposed to be unlucky, it’s important to try to get it under control as quickly as possible, says Vimrett.

Hackers may have changed the password, but not the email. Take a few quick steps and reset your password. The longer it takes, the greater the chance of losing control.

Otherwise, Nettpatruljen recommends contacting SlettMeg or the Facebook Help Center. But the most important advice is to take action in advance and activate the two-step factor.

I got their accounts back

Aslak Sverdrup and Slava Nemes have got their accounts back, but TV 2 knows several who haven’t gotten it yet. Some chose to pay an amount for a Belgian account number, while others decided to create a new account.

 Photo: Mathias Kleiveland / TV 2

Photo: Mathias Kleiveland / TV 2

Someone even got their account back after TV 2 called Meta and pointed out specific examples.

When asked if Sverdrup and Nemes were naive when they got into it, Sverdrup replied:

– The best can happen. In this case, it seemed very credible. The most important thing is to warn others that this can happen – no matter how good you are with online security.

– And not least: Take the two-step factor!

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