Don’t Fall Prey to the ‘Instagram Copyright Infringement Scam’

The Weekly Insights | Issue 1

What’s the Deal?
In the recent past weeks, many people including celebrities have fallen prey to the ‘Instagram Copyright Infringement Scam’. Scammers have been acquiring private details of users by posing as Instagram ‘Help Centre’ executives. Most recently, celebrities like Amisha Patel, Urmila Matondkar and Asha Bhosle have lost their accounts to these phishers.

How does the Scam Work?

- The prey receives a ‘direct message’ on their Instagram from the sender, usually a verified ID under the name ‘Help Centre’ claiming that they’re associated with the ‘Instagram Copyright Infringement Centre’.

- 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.” Along with this message, a ‘Copyright Appeal Form’ is attached in form of a link. This link is in fact a phishing link that asks users for details like their Instagram password, date of birth, etc.,

- The details that you enter on the phishing link will directly go to the phisher. Using these details, the phisher can log you out of your own account by changing the password, change your username and dupe others using your account.

- Fraudsters even ensure that the phishing link page has a ‘https’ in the address bar that is a sign of a secure site.

Why do Phishers Phish?

- To sell personal data (personal details) on the darknet (A part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines and is only accessible through networks like TOR).

- To sell debit/credit card details on the darknet where other fraudsters purchase this data to withdraw money.

- To gain access to the social media accounts of celebrities and conduct notorious activities or ask celebrities for ransom.

Closing Note…

The best way to not fall victim to such scams is by being aware of them. If you get any links from Instagram under the garb of ‘Copyright Infringement’, delete the message and do not respond to it. If you’ve already clicked on the link and lost access to your account, you can write about the same to Instagram with proof and further you can also inform the cyber police.