Cybercrimes have become a mounting nuisance for everyone who has an active digital life. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, cybercrimes are at an all-time high and hackers have evolved their methods to trick people online. Recently, International Business Times busted a phishing scam racket that had been targeting verified social media profiles, and scammers continue to infiltrate high-profile accounts using a simple trick.
After several Bollywood celebrities fell for the Instagram phishing scam, a renowned chain of restaurants, Grand Hyatt became the latest victim of the notorious con. The official Instagram handle of Grand Hyatt Mumbai suddenly lost its 50,000+ followers and the name of the account was changed to Instagram Support.
The intro of the Grand Hyatt Mumbai Instagram page has also been changed since to: "From @instagram & @facebook This is an automated message sent to you. If you have infringed copyright, you will receive an automated message."
As of this writing, the account has been made private and the followers have all been regained. It remains unknown at this moment if the management has regained complete access to the account yet.
How did this happen?
Earlier last month, like many verified Instagram profiles, International Business Times, too, received a copyright infringement message from an unknown account, yet a verified one (one that has the fancy blue tick).
In the message, a link was provided to appeal the copyright infringement. Since the message would appear to come from Help Center, no one would think twice before adhering to the request. However, we verified the account where the message was sent and looked up the official contact procedure in an event of a copyright infringement and something was amiss.
After a thorough investigation, we realised scammers were gaining access to verified Instagram accounts by collecting information of celebrities and verified account holder who panicked and followed the spam links. Then, the scammers would rename the account to something like Help Center and targets other verified accounts.
Several Bollywood celebs, including Farah Khan, Vikrant Massey, director Hansal Mehta, Urmila Matondkar and Sussane Khan have all been victim of the viral phishing scam.