Instagrammers alert! Avoid data theft, scams | #socialmedia

Published: Published Date – 11:08 PM, Mon – 16 May 22

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Hyderabad: Instagram is one of the world’s most powerful platforms used for photo and video sharing. There are over one billion users on the social media platform, out of which 30 percent are in the 18–24 age group and 32 percent are in the 25–32 age group.

There are many benefits of Instagram: (a) It’s a sales booster: It raises brand awareness, generates leads and builds customer loyalty (b) Showcasing our products and services: The quickest way to reach your fans or customers is to share an image or video (c) Developing customer relationships: Because current generation customers require a lot of attention, we should continue to post quality content, ask questions, provide feedback and acknowledge your customers (d) Drive traffic to your website: It’s a means of promotion to turn followers into website visitors to shop for our products or services (e) Advertising Campaigns: create advertising campaigns to increase visibility and attract new customers.

Being safe on Instagram

• Stalking: (a) Never publish your contact or address details on your social media as it could be harvested and processed for commercial and social engineering purposes. (b) Be sure the access privileges given to apps are truly required for you (c) delete unwanted apps and followers periodically.

• Privacy: (a) Set your GPS, Bluetooth, set passwords and PINs on your phone. (b) Download apps only from App Store or Play Store (c) Consent/expressions should be treated the same way for both offline and online interactions.

• Photo/video: (a) To keep your personal life safe, it is important to ensure no personal stories, no expression of opinions, no swimsuits, etc., are added as you could be trolled (b) Use watermarks on all your posts (c) Be private and be visible to only friends and family members.

• Set boundaries: (a) Never share personal stories that could shame you in the future (b) Never post anything that could hurt feelings (c) Avoid racist, political and religious comments.

• Protecting your data: (a) Use paid applications, they usually block malware and trackers (b) Use two-factor authentication to protect passwords, email and payments.

Being private on Instagram

In today’s world, life without social media is incomplete. However, there is a drawback of being on social media platforms because of the bad actors and it’s important to find ways to deal with those bad actors.

• Make your account private: Settings >; Privacy >; Account Privacy
• Disable activity status: Settings>; Privacy >; Activity Status
• Block, restrict or report accounts: Setting >; Privacy >; Restricted Accounts
• Monitor comments and stories: Settings >; Privacy >; Comments
• Mute accounts: Account >; Privacy >; Mute
• Location privileges: Settings >; Privacy >; Location Services >; Instagram >; Never
• Limit posts: Settings >; Privacy >; Switch on Private Account toggle
• Less personal ads: Settings >; Ads >; Data about your activity from partners >; Switch toggles off for all accounts listed
• Two factor authentication: Security >; Two-Factor Authentication >; Get Started
• Who can message you: Settings >; Privacy >; Messages >; List the contacts
• Stop syncing your contacts: Settings >; Account >; Contacts Syncing >; Switch the toggle off

Scams on Instagram

It’s easy to create fake accounts and publish fake advertisements. For scammers, it has become a blessing in disguise. They steal all product-related photos from legitimate brands and come up with their fake ads up and running in just a couple of minutes after creating an account.

Instagram is mainly used to drive traffic to fake/replica/second copy websites. Instead of selling their products directly through Instagram, they lead prospective buyers to their fake websites, of which the buyer is not aware. The majority of Instagram users do realise that the products are not original and they are okay with cloned or copied electronic items. When the buyer tries to buy the product, they don’t even get the copy/replica product and it turns out to be a scam.

Modus operandi of shopping scam

• Victims search for big branded mobiles and watches on Instagram
• They usually end up in accounts with cloned or replica products
• Scammers respond instantly and send images/videos of product
• Victims pay 25% of advance as booking amount
• Scammers share fake screenshots of bookings, provide tracking IDs
• Then, they will request that remaining amount be transferred on delivery day
• On delivery day, a message comes asking OTP to be shared with the delivery guy
• After paying, some scammers deliver low-quality replica products
• Some scammers don’t even deliver and block all contacts

Reporting on Instagram

• Reporting fake news:
• Reporting impersonation:
• Report abuse or spam:
• Report cyberbullying:
• Report fraud sellers:

National Cyber Reporting Portal

You can register your complaint with the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal at, or dial the toll-free number 1930. Police authorities will guide you through the process of registering complaints.

Stay tuned to Cyber Talk for more on internet ethics and digital wellness brought to you by Anil Rachamalla of End Now Foundation,

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