Be wary of social media videos promoting Bitcoin investments that seem too good to be true, even if they're recorded by someone you know and trust.
According to a new report from Vice Motherboard, hackers are forcing Instagram users to film "hostage-style videos" as part of a surprisingly prevalent bitcoin scam.
The victims typically fall into the trap by clicking on what looks like an innocuous Instagram link, but is really a means for the hackers to gain access to their accounts.
New bitcoin mining scam holds users hostage
The report by Vice details the experience of Instagram user Emma Zoller, who was targeted by a hacker using the online name "Ashly". Zoller clicked on a link that lead to a page masquerading as an Instagram login window. When she filled in her details, she unwittingly handed over her ID and password.
The hacker's first step was to tell Zoller she could have her account back in exchange for a nude video. When Zoller refused, Ashly ordered her, instead, to promote their Bitcoin mining scam in a video clip.
In the video (viewable below), Zoller says "hey you guys, I just got back from a long day of work, but Ashly just helped me invest $1,000 and got me back $8,500. What an amazing way to end the day, and I feel so blessed and appreciative for this process. It’s guaranteed. I suggest doing it."
Sadly, and somewhat predictably, once Zoller posted the video, the hacker refused to return access to her account, and they were also able to hack into her Venmo account. Zoller's video was subsequently promoted via an Instagram Story.
'People are losing their pages, money, and identity'
Another victim of a similar scam, Tim Nugent, told Vice that a hacker gained access to an Instagram account for his Etsy business, which has 13,000 followers. He was also forced into creating a get-rich-quick scam video and one of his customers was subsequently "bled dry" by the scammer.
Nugent said the experience is "ruining [his] reputation and business." What's more, Nugent said that "Instagram/Facebook [have] been zero help and have not gotten back to me, meanwhile people are losing their pages, money, and identity."
In another cryptocurrency scam this month, a new cryptocurrency, SQUID, based on the hit Netflix series Squid Game, made a meteoric rise after it was created, only for its creator to shut the currency down days later and seemingly disappear.
Instagram strongly encourages users to use two-factor authentication to make their accounts much harder for hackers to gain and retain access to an account. The company, owned by Meta (previously Facebook), also urges people not to use the same password across several different platforms and accounts, as this makes it much easier for hackers to gain access.