With malicious tricks, scammers take over the Instagram accounts of young Norwegians.
– I got a message on Instagram from a friend, says Vilde (22).
In the letter, she was asked for her phone number.
– Since it came from a friend, I didn’t think about it much.
She also asks why does her friend need her number.
– Then I was told that she should send me a link regarding my school assignment, and that I send her a screenshot of it.
Unfortunately, Vilde doesn’t have time to think twice before you return the screenshot.
See how the scammers communicated and what messages they sent below:
1 of 2Photo: screenshot
– In what I sent, I feel that “this is probably not quite right”. I realized what I had already sent, and regretted the letter, but it was already too late.
Within the next minute, she loses complete access to her Instagram profile. The profile of about 500 followers has been closed.
Vilde and two of her friends contacted VG about the scam. The scam friends have tested as persistent and persistent, wanting to remain anonymous.
– It’s illegal
The National Cybercrime Center (NC3) in Krepos recently received several tips from people who had their Instagram account hacked and then contacted them on Facebook Messenger to offer to buy back the account.
Is this kind of Instagram profile hack illegal?
The short answer is yes, it’s illegal, asserts Oystin Andreessen, NC3’s head of assimilation.
Andreessen says the actual situation where people, say, ask for phone numbers to break into Instagram accounts, has been known to the police for a long time.
The friend Vilde who received messages on Instagram from, was Sophie (22). But she did not send them. I was exposed to the same thing. That her account has been used to deceive friends and acquaintances, she finds it uncomfortable to contemplate.
In addition to accessing what can be shared from the profile, hackers can also access past conversations on instant messages and archived photos, among other things.
– It’s so disgusting. Although there is only one Instagram account, it is very personal.
Spread to other friends
The girls’ accounts were also used to control other accounts. Nelly, 22, was exposed to scammers who took over Vilde’s account.
“I didn’t think much of asking her for my number,” Nellie explains.
And now she suffers from others contacting her after their accounts have also been hacked.
– I received 28 messages from other friends today, I told VG a few days after the account was taken over.
Girlfriends who have had Instagram takeovers are frustrated with the situation. They find it difficult to recover their profiles, and find it inconvenient for someone to send messages in their name.
– Scammers respond to spam messages that our friends send to profiles, girls say.
See VG screenshots to confirm this.
After losing access to their Instagram profiles, the girls were also contacted on Facebook by an unknown user, who offers them to buy back the profile.
Watch how the scammer later searches for girls on social media:
1 of 3Photo: screenshot
– do not pay
According to Andreessen at Krepos, it is wise not to pay the money the scammers want.
Don’t pay what the blackmailer asks for. If you make a payment, you have no guarantee that you will regain control of your account. He says the police experience is that you can get more requests to pay.
Andreessen says that cybercrime crosses borders, and the perpetrators are often overseas. This means that the investigation of such cases is often time consuming and resource intensive. However, the police urge you to report such incidents.
The information the police receives through tips and reviews is used to get a better overview of how criminals operate. This information is shared with, for example, Europol.
How do you protect yourself from this
Andreassen in Kripos encourages the activation of 2-step verification on social media profiles. This means that in addition to accessing your password, you must have access to either your verification app or your SIM card to take over your profile.
Andreassen points to Nettvett.no’s overview about How to enable two-step verification.
Instagram also calls for two-step verification.
It’s very important that you care about what you share, and protect your account, says Camilla Nordstead, a communications consultant at Facebook, who owns Instagram.
To best protect yourself from hacking, Instagram recommends both two-step verification and setting alerts about unknown logins.
Ensure that the email address and phone number associated with the profile are up to date.
The girls now hope their example will make others more aware of Instagram scams.
– Regardless of whether we recover our accounts, it is important to say out loud that this is happening.
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