People need to be able to recognize common scams that will target them through Instagram and other social media sites, according to Harriet Stone at Naked Security. Stone points to phishing scams designed to steal your login credentials, and romance scams that manipulate people into sending money to a scammer.
Stone also warns of phony sponsors who target popular Instagram influencers in an attempt to steal their banking information, and giveaway scams in which crooks impersonate influencers to trick people into thinking they’ve won a prize but need to pay a shipping fee.
Stone offers the following advice to avoid falling for these scams. They’re familiar, but nonetheless worth reviewing:
- “Pick proper passwords. Don’t use the same password as you do on any other sites. If you think you may have given away your password on a fake site, change it as soon as you can before the crooks do. Consider using a password manager if you don’t have one already.
- “Don’t overshare. As much as it seems to be common to share a lot of your life on Instagram nowadays, you don’t have to give away everything about yourself. Also think about who or what is in the background of your photos before you upload them.
- “Stay vigilant. If an account or message seems suspicious to you, do not interact or reply to the account and do not click on any links they send you. If something seems too good to be true, assume that it IS too good to be true.
- “Consider setting your account to private. If you aren’t trying to be an influencer whom everyone can see, and if you use Instagram more as a messaging platform to keep touch with your close friends than as a way to tell the world about yourself, you may want to make your account private. Only your followers will be able to see your photos and videos. Review your list of followers regularly and kick off people you don’t recognise or don’t want following you any more.”