Bank followers targeted on Instagram
Followers of bank pages on Instagram are being targeted by a new scam. Reports are suggesting that thousands of Instagram users have been hit by the hoax, which sees followers asked if they are interested in making extra cash. Though the messages may appear dubious to many, a large number of users have been taken in by the hoax. A security company called ZeroFox says it has identified over two million public Instagram posts pushing money-flipping, in which victims are tricked into handing over cash after being told its value can be multiplied. Users are told that they will receive a significant share of the profits. However, the hoaxers then disappear with the money, never to be heard from again. Money-flipping is just one of many techniques being used by scammers, with growing numbers of internet users being forced to use malware removal software.
A growing concern
It’s thought that three money-flipping accounts are being opened for each one Instagram is closing, making it harder and harder for the firm to clamp down on hoaxers. The hoaxes are leaving many banks out-of-pocket due to them regularly compensating account holders for the money they are losing. One bank has reportedly built a new unit to deal with Instagram money-flipping. The bank in question is said to have lost over $1m to Instagram money-flipping. Some scammers have been telling account holders that it doesn’t matter if they have no money in their accounts. In such cases, criminals use bank details in order to cash fraudulent cheques. The cash is then deposited quickly.
Many scammers have made significant efforts to appear as professional and genuine as possible, having built up complex back stories. The scammers have been telling users that their plans are completely legal. 80% of the two million posts analysed by ZeroFox were over 45 days old, meaning many were going unreported and undetected. ZeroFox found almost 1,400 accounts linked with money-flipping criminals. Instagram described scams as “pretty low volume”, but added that it planned to pay attention to the recommendations made by ZeroFox.
Information passed to the banks
The photo-sharing site is owned by Facebook. Some scammers are making reference to the US military in order to dupe victims, with many genuine services and offers being given to military families on a regular basis. ZeroFox has been able to trick some scammers into clicking on links that revealed and logged their IP addresses. It says some hoaxers were operating from Chicago, California and Detriot. However, scammers are known for masking IP addresses so their locations cannot be detected. The company says it is yet to pass the information it has gathered onto law enforcement agencies or Instagram itself. However, it says it has sent information onto banks whose customers have been targeted by money-flipping.
Money-flipping and malware removal
Web users are regularly encouraged to remain vigilant for threats including money-flipping scams and malware. Computer users are urged to ensure they always have anti-virus software from a trusted developer on their systems. More and more people having to remove malware from devices such as phones and tablets, so it’s wise to ensure all your internet-connected devices have anti-virus software loaded onto them. Furthermore, you need to ensure your software is set to update itself automatically so you can always stay one step ahead of the latest threats. It may be worth paying out a little extra for the best anti-virus software so you can put your mind at rest.
The first thing you should do if you expect you have been targeted by malware is to run a scan. If you are running Windows and your software fails to launch properly, you may wish to turn off the computer and run it in safe mode. Some malware can prevent malware removal software from working, but you should find it easier to get your software up and running if your machine is in safe mode. The Microsoft Safety Scanner may be able to come to the rescue if your software fails. If you still have no success with malware removal, you may need to wipe your hard drive and re-install your operating system, or take it to a specialist who can remove malware.