Several people, including celebrities from Bollywood, have fallen for an ‘Instagram copyright infringement scam’ in the past few weeks. The celebrities that have been targeted with a phishing attack are Urmila Matondkar, Asha Bhosle, Amisha Patel, and more. Let’s learn more about the Instagram scam these celebrities have fallen for, and how you can save yourselves from it. 

In this ‘Instagram Copyright Infringement Scam’ people receive a message on their Instagram accounts where a sender, usually titled ‘Help Center’, claims that they are associated with the ‘Instagram Copyright Infringement Center’. The message goes on as follows:

“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.”

With this message, the user is sent a “Copyright Appeal Form”, which is actually a phishing link where the user is forced to make the mistake of filling in details like their date of birth, Instagram ID and password, etc. 

What is a phishing link? What do the scammers get by phishing?

A phishing link is nothing but a fraudulent link that is created with the intent to appear authentic. The main purpose of a phishing link is to lead people into believing that the information they will be giving will go on a secure website. In this case, the scammers are leading people to believe that the information they are providing will go to Instagram’s official help center. 

With the help of the details filled by the attacked person, the scammers can log in from their accounts, make changes to their password, and even take control of their experience. The scammers can also go as far as selling personal details on an unindexed version of the regular internet known as the darknet. 

On the darknet, there are several websites that not only sell the ID and passwords for online profiles but also details of debit cards, credit cards, etc. There are also buyers who are interested in taking control over the social media accounts of celebrities and the details of these accounts are sold for a high price.

How can you save yourselves from this scam? How can someone report if they’ve already fallen for it?

They say precaution better than cure. And the best course of precaution when it comes to digital behavior is to be aware and spread awareness. If you receive a message from Instagram which asks you to click a particular link, delete the message without responding. To confirm whether there’s such a thing you can simply reach out to the Instagram help center. 

In case you or someone who you may know have fallen for such a phishing attack and have lost access to their accounts, just email Instagram’s support. From there on, you can smoothly carry out the necessary process with the peace of mind that your information will be safe. 

In situations where you think your banking or financial information is out in the wild, remain calm, and contact cyber police as soon as you can.