Why 'Hostage-Style' Bitcoin Videos Are on Instagram

Why 'Hostage-Style' Bitcoin Videos Are on Instagram

According to reports, fraudsters are taking over Instagram accounts — and forcing the victims to promote Bitcoin-related get-rich-quick schemes to get their access back.

Why 'Hostage-Style' Bitcoin Videos Are on Instagram

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Have you seen videos on social media where seemingly normal, everyday people promote Bitcoin investments that seem too good to be true?

Well, according to Motherboard, hackers are effectively forcing users on Instagram to film these "hostage-style videos" — and this type of scam has been spreading like wildfire.

The victims are usually drawn in after clicking on a link and being directed to a web page that's masquerading as Instagram. Entering login details can mean that fraudsters end up taking over their account. 

This happened to Emma Zoller. The hacker who targeted her — known as "Ashly" — had initially ordered her to make a nude video in exchange for access to her account back. When she refused, Ashly told her to promote his Bitcoin mining scam in a clip instead.

Motherboard's report features a video from Emma in which she 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."

Unfortunately for Emma, this wasn't the end. The fraudster reneged on their promise to return access to her account — and the video she sent was promoted on an Instagram Story. They even managed to break into her Venmo account.

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'Instagram Has Been Zero Help'

Motherboard also spoke to Tim Nugent, who was also forced to make one of these "hostage videos." 

Explaining how he ended up in this situation, he told the website:

"I thought I was talking to a friend the whole time and investing in [crypto] with them. After I figured out it was a scam, they ended up gaining access to my business account with over 13,000 followers."

Tim — whose Instagram account promotes an Etsy site selling horror movies — said that creating the video about the hacker's get-rich-quick scam had serious consequences.

One of his customers ended up being bled dry, and he added "it's borderline ruining my reputation and business." But he warned:

"Instagram/Facebook [have] been zero help and have not gotten back to me, meanwhile people are losing their pages, money, and identity."

The social network has urged its users to use two-factor authentication to add another layer of security to their account, and choose a strong password that isn't shared across multiple websites.

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