Have you just been duked by an Instagram verification scam? Most victims receive an email that offers a “verified” badge for their Instagram page. The offer is tempting since “verified” badges are usually given to accounts which represent public figures (actors, bands, celebrity, and global brands).
However, instead of receiving the badge, their account is hacked. If you suspect this has happened to you, learn what went wrong and how you can repair what damages may have been done. Join us as we explore Instagram verification scams and how you can protect your account!
What Is the Instagram Verification Scam & How Does It Work?
Almost everyone wants to be an Instagram influencer as it can lead to celebrity status, endorsement deals, and more. This is why Instagram verification scams prey on everyday users who want their accounts to reflect that “gold card” status.
Here is how it works:
You receive an email that says that you will be receiving a verified badge. It appears to be sent from “Instagram Support” and all you have to do is confirm the addition. You click the link and are redirected. You think it is legitimate, as the email contains Instagram’s official logos and the address includes the words “Been Verified”.
Once you are on the website, the appearance still reflects Instagram’s styling and lettering. You “verify” your password and login details and BOOM, a hacker now has your information!
What a hacker does next with your stolen information can vary. Sometimes, they spam your followers with ads or links to malware to try and get their passwords next. Other times, they hold your account ransom and demand payment from you to get it back. If you refuse to pay, they say they will delete it.
What You Should Do If You’re a Victim of This Scam
- Immediately change passwords for all other accounts (mainly if you used the same password for email addresses, banking, etc.). Turn on 2-factor authentication.
- Reset your Instagram account and password. If this is impossible (as they’ve changed your recovery information for the account), go directly to step 3.
- Report the hack to Instagram and let them know if you cannot access your account or reset your password.
- Warn friends and family, so they don’t fall victim to a hacker’s same methods!
- Search your name, photo profile pic, and social media username(s) through Social Catfish to make sure hackers haven’t created any fake accounts with your information and details.
How to Get Properly Verified on Instagram
- Go to Instagram.com or open the Instagram app.
- Go to the three horizontal lines in the upper right-hand corner. These represent the ‘menu’.
- After opening up the ‘menu’, look to the bottom right-hand side of the screen and select the toolbar labeled “Settings”.
- Once the “Settings” section opens, scroll down to “Request Verification”.
- After the “Request Verification” section opens, you will enter in your Username, Full Name, what you are “Known As”, and the Company you are affiliated with. You will add a category to your account and attach a photograph of your I.D. card.
- Select “Send” and your application will be submitted. In general, you should receive a response fairly quickly, but it is not instantaneous and may take longer than you expect.
- While scammers will always come up with new phishing scams, the best way to protect yourself is by following safety rules at all times. Phishing scams often rely on counterfeit emails which look “official” and encourage impulsive action.
- Learn how to read hyperlinks or the real web address connected to an in-body link. You do this by hovering your mouse over the link or address and right-clicking. If the web address is not one that will take you to Instagram, then it is a scam.
- Also, check the “reply to” address, not just the name that shows up. Most of the time, you can see account alerts on Instagram when you’re logged in and not via email.
Are you wondering who emailed you or if an Instagram account is legitimate? Use Social Catfish for all your reverse search needs. You can search usernames for social media websites, email addresses, phone number, images, and name:
If you need extra support, boost your information search and work directly with one of our Search Specialists!