Taking back the ID

Beware of social media takeovers and compromised credit reports

It seems like identity thieves never sleep. Now they want to imitate your friends and hack into your social media accounts. And they want to compromise your credit scores. Here’s how to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Aaron Johnson recently tried to get into his Instagram account but found out it was locked. He called his brother, Jake, for help. Jake asked if Aaron had recently received an email from a “friend” who needed help getting back into their Instagram account. Aaron said he did, and he’d also clicked on a link sent to him. Lights out! A fraudster, who was no friend, had hacked into Aaron’s Instagram account to try to steal his personally identifiable information (PII).

This case is fictional but represents a common example of a recent social media account hack and takeover scam. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) says fraudsters are increasingly taking over Facebook and Instagram accounts to steal PII for identity theft crimes. The ITRC reported that it had received 320 inquiries about the scam in 2021, but that number had skyrocketed to nearly 500 through the first quarter of 2022. (See “ITRC: Identity Criminals Add New Twist to Facebook & Instagram Account Hack Scams: Pose as ‘Friends’ of the Victim,” Identity Theft Resource Center, April 4, 2022.)

In the past, fraudsters used bitcoin scams to hack into the social media accounts of victims, but recently they’ve been sending email messages masquerading as “friends” of victims to proliferate the scam.

For full access to story, members may sign in here.

Not a member? Click here to Join Now. Or Click here to sign up for a FREE TRIAL.