Home Social networking Urgent warning issued to Australian Instagram users following alarming scam

Urgent warning issued to Australian Instagram users following alarming scam

0

A Brisbane mother has revealed how cybercriminals stole $24,000 from her loyal followers after hacking into her social media accounts.

Anna Van Dijk runs the popular online store “Lunchbox Mini” where she sells a variety of lunch boxes, water bottles, coffee mugs and cooler bags.

In February, his Instagram account was targeted by cybercriminals who stole thousands of his loyal followers using a fake bitcoin scheme.

In just seven days, fraudsters defrauded a dozen Australian mums out of $24,000 as Ms Van Dijk desperately tried to regain control of her account.

Anna Van Dijk (pictured) runs popular online store ‘Lunchbox Mini’ where she sells a variety of lunch boxes, water bottles, coffee mugs and cooler bags

Scammers told Ms Van Dijk followers they could make $7,000 in just two hours if they invested $1,000 (pictured, a message the scammers sent to a victim)

Scammers told Ms Van Dijk followers they could make $7,000 in just two hours if they invested $1,000 (pictured, a message the scammers sent to a victim)

She explained that the hackers posed as members of the Meta group, which owns Instagram and Facebook, and sent her an email informing her that one of her Instagram posts had been flagged for copyright issues.

The email said she had 24 to 48 hours to click the button to “dispute” the claims before her account was disabled or deleted forever.

Two minutes after clicking the button, the Brisbane mum received an email telling her that her Instagram password and email had been changed.

“It’s been seven long days for me,” Ms Van Dijk told Daily Mail Australia.

“I knew that every day people were losing money.”

Scammers tricked mothers into investing in fake bitcoin schemes, telling women they could earn $7,000 in two hours if they invested $1,000.

In February, the Brisbane mother-of-two's Instagram account was targeted by cybercriminals who stole thousands of her loyal followers using a fake bitcoin scheme

In February, the Brisbane mother-of-two’s Instagram account was targeted by cybercriminals who stole thousands of her loyal followers using a fake bitcoin scheme

At least a dozen mums who followed the Lunchbox Mini account were duped into

At least a dozen mums who followed the Lunchbox Mini account were tricked into ‘investing’ $1,000 of their hard-earned savings, one of whom was pregnant with her third child

They went out of their way to falsify bank and business statements bearing Ms Van Dijk’s name to try to prove the scheme was legitimate.

At least a dozen mothers were tricked into “investing” $1,000 of their hard-earned savings, one of whom was pregnant with her third child.

She told the scammers, whom she believed to be Mrs Van Dijk, that the extra money could mean her hard-working husband could spend more time with the baby.

The scammers, while posing as the mother of two, told the woman they “swear on my children’s lives” that she would see a return on her investments.

Once the mothers had transferred an initial amount of $1,000, they were asked to spend an additional $7,000 to access the money.

The scammers guaranteed that they would receive $30,000 if they invested $7,000, with the majority of mothers at this point smelling a rat and backing out.

However, one woman lost a total of $8,000 – money she had borrowed from family members – and none of the victims have yet gotten their money back.

Ms Van Dijk said she spent three hours

Ms Van Dijk said she spent three “heartbreaking” hours assessing the damage on her Instagram page and sent a personal voicemail to apologize to the victims.

Scammers tricked mothers into investing in fake bitcoin schemes, telling women they could earn $7,000 in two hours if they invested $1,000

Scammers tricked mothers into investing in fake bitcoin schemes, telling women they could earn $7,000 in two hours if they invested $1,000

Ms Van Dijk said she spent three “heartbreaking” hours assessing the damage on her Instagram page and sent a personal voicemail to apologize to the victims.

Some of the women had blocked her after realizing their money never came back with a scam that cost the business owner hundreds of subscribers.

She learned about the scam dominating her Instagram page through messages sent to Facebook and her website.

TOP EXPERT TIPS TO AVOID BEING HACKED:

1. Create a human firewall by educating yourself and your employees.

2. Protect passwords by using multi-factor authentication and regularly updating passwords.

3. Limit exposures by logging into a secure account rather than connecting to public Wi-Fi.

4. Prepare by having a backup account ready and knowing what will be needed to recover your account.

5. Pay cyber protection insurance.

6. Update business policies and procedures to prevent and recover from suspicious behavior.

The majority were from women who had invested money and wanted updates on returns, or worried husbands wanting to confirm it was legit.

On February 18, Ms Van Dijk took to her Instagram Stories to announce that she had regained control of her account, a video which she said was “etched in her mind”.

She apologized to her followers for having to endure endless bitcoin spamming and said it had been “the hardest thing” knowing they had been contacted.

The Brisbane mother said she was only able to regain control of her account after reaching out to a family friend with an Instagram contact.

She uses authenticator apps on her phone that require a six-digit number to log into her Instagram account from another device.

Van Dijk believes her small business has been targeted by cybercriminals because of its highly engaged and loyal customer base.

“Instagram rewards you and puts you forward if you have a high level of engagement on your account,” she explained.

“And these moms trusted me.”

It comes as experts warn that small businesses on social media continue to be an easy target for scammers with cyberattacks on the rise.

Business Australia chief product officer Phil Parisis said he has seen an increase in the number of accounts being infiltrated by hackers to scam their customers.

“Many small businesses rely on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for much of their marketing or to stay in touch with their customers – and cybercriminals increasingly see it as an easy target,” he said. .

Business Australia chief product officer Phil Parisis (pictured) said he had seen an increase in the number of accounts being infiltrated by hackers to scam their customers.

Business Australia chief product officer Phil Parisis (pictured) said he had seen an increase in the number of accounts being infiltrated by hackers to scam their customers.

“One click is enough to lose everything.”

Australians lost more than $8million to social media scams last month, nearly four times what was lost in the same period of the previous record year.

There was also a 40% spike in the number of reported attacks.

Last July, the Australian Cyber ​​Security Center (ACSC) reported a 60% increase in ransomware attacks against Australian entities.

In September, the ACSC estimated that organizations and individuals had paid $33 billion over the past year either to hackers or in costs associated with attacks.