Every new day brings with it a new ray of hope or scam! The latest addition to the list of scams is the Instagram Copyright Scam.

What is the Instagram Copyright Scam?

Since the last few weeks, several Instagram users including Bollywood celebrities like Urmila Matondkar, Asha Bhosle, Amisha Patel, and few Hollywood celebrities have been receiving Copyright infringement notices from fraudsters portraying themselves as executives of Instagram’s Help Center. The message usually comes from a verified ID titled ‘Help Center’, the sender claims he/she is associated with the ‘Instagram/Copyright Infringement Center’.

The message reads,

“Hello Instagram user, we have received many complaints about your account for a long time. We wanted to inform you about this. Before you delete your account, some of the posts you posted are against our community guidelines. If you think the copyright infringement statement is false, you must provide feedback. Otherwise, your account will be permanently deleted from the platform within 72 hours.”

A phishing link disguised as a “Copyright Appeal Form” is attached in the form. Once a user clicks on the link, he/she is asked to fill in details like their Instagram password, date of birth, etc.

Once the user enters his/her details, the fraudster can use the same and hack into the account. Some of the celebrities have even fallen prey to the scam. These fraudsters have even ensured that the page has an ‘https’ in the address bar that is usually a sign that it is a secure site.

For those who do not know what a phishing link is, it is a link created by fraudsters that re-directs a user to another website wherein the user is asked to enter his/her confidential details. The websites overall appearance makes a user believe that he/ she is entering his/her personal details on a secure website, whereas it is actually going directly to a fraudulent source.

Why are the fraudsters chasing these Instagram accounts?

The answer is that they can lock a user out of his/her account and make changes to the username and use the verified account for duping others. They also sell the user’s personal details, on unindexed Internet platforms. There are several sites on the dark net that trade in personal financial details and passwords. Social media accounts of celebrities fetch a higher price. Lastly, the fraudsters can also ask money for money by impersonating as the celebrity.

How can one protect oneself from this Instagram scam?

Be aware. Yes the best way to avoid falling prey to this scam is to be aware of it.  Also, delete any such message and do not respond to them.

 What if one has fallen prey to this scam and has lost access to his/her account?

If you have already clicked on the link and lost access to your account, you can write to Instagram with your ID proofs and describe how you have lost control. You should also inform the concerned cyber cell.