Any texts asking a user to click through a link to get access to their Instagram account back could be a scam and should be treated with caution.
Any Instagram users that have received a text message asking them to tap a link to gain back access to their account should be aware that it is likely to be a scam. Online services have seen a rise in scams lately, with text messages one of the most commonly used methods by scammers. Providing the user remains vigilant when receiving these messages, they can avoid getting scammed.
Instagram is a popular image and video-sharing service, making it ideal for scammers to target. For example, there was the ‘three of your pictures’ scam that promised improved photos, only to then direct the user to a fake version of the Instagram website where their personal details could be obtained and compromised. Similar to the current scam, the three of your pictures scam also relied on messages, albeit direct messages.
The latest scam now being reported by Instagram users relates to account access. Essentially, users receive a text message advising that there is an issue with their account. The message looks to make it easy for the user to regain access to their account by simply clicking on a link, but doing so could put the user’s account at risk. While it remains to be seen when the scam first surfaced, reports on Reddit date back to at least August of 2020. More recently, Trend Micro sent out a scam alert on social media, suggesting the scam is still active and a problem.
How To Avoid This Instagram Account Scam
As is very often the case with text scams, the link is the main issue. These links can lead to any location on the internet and tend to be a way to direct users to a site where their login details can be entered. However, once entered those details are likely to fall into the hands of scammers, allowing them to then gain access to the account, possibly leading to even greater personal information being compromised. The first and main way to avoid this scam is to simply avoid these links altogether.
Any Instagram user can quickly and easily check if there is a possible problem by heading to the website or opening the app. If the user is able to sign in as normal, and without any notifications relating to an issue, then it is likely there is no issue to begin with. If there is a problem, then depending on the issue, it should be easy enough to fix, whether it is resetting an Instagram password or contacting Instagram to resolve the problem.
In general, services like Instagram will almost never text or call a user when there is a problem. Instead, these services do usually contact a user by email or through a notification that’s either sent to a device from the app or is accessible once logging in. Due to this, it is almost always a good rule of thumb to just avoid any messages received by text, and especially when they include links. This rule applies whether it’s Instagram or any other online service.
Next: How To Set Up Two-Factor Authentication On Instagram
Source: Reddit, Trend Micro/Twitter
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