If someone you don’t know on Instagram starts to chat with you, that should automatically be a red flag. Always proceed off of the belief that it is a scammer.
Is it possible that they are a fan of your work, sure! Could they genuinely want to collaborate with you? Absolutely. But it’s much more likely that they are a scammer trying to take over your IG account to steal from your friends and also post some crypto nonsense.
It’s also possible that they might be trying to kidnap you! This is particularly true when it is a random cute girl who “loves your posts.”
The biggest tell of all is that they will ask for your phone number. “Hey, let’s go on my other app, I like to use whatsapp or telegram to chat.” Really? Why isn’t it okay to chat on here? Why do we have to move apps and why do you need my phone number? Well, I’m not sure how they do it, but using your phone number they somehow manage to take over your account.
So what should you do to protect yourself? Nothing is 100% guaranteed to keep you safe, know that. But first and foremost, make sure that you have two factor, dual authentication on all of your social media accounts. If you do not, you make it way easier for someone to steal it from you.
Next, always, always, exercise great caution when engaging with someone online. Whether you think you know them or not. It’s very easy to create a new account, name it Angelrtalk_1, steal my picture and pretend to be me.
If a friend reaches out to you because they are needing financial help, ask them a question that only they would know the answer to. Something extremely specific, never assume that you are actually talking to your friend, it could be an imposter.
Another basic rule that I implement is that I do not add duplicate accounts to my friends list. If you created a new account, well, you better let me know directly because I’ll never accept that duplicate friend request. I will always assume that it is a scammer impersonating you.
Finally and probably one of the most important things is to never provide your password, personal or any financial information to anyone online. What’s your favorite color? Black. When’s your birthday? The fourth of July. They are trying to steal your personal info for the password recovery questions!
I don’t give a damn what you say or who you claim to be, until proven otherwise, everyone is a scammer. If you are from Bally’s sport club, then I’ll call Bally’s directly and make my way back to you. No? Okay, blocked…
In addition, not that many of us do it these days, but be careful about using public computers and outside wifi. The scam attempts are infinite and know no limits.
You have to be very careful with emails and text messages posing as your bank, apple, or email, etc. If you get a message saying “Your email is about to expire, click here to save it.” Yeah right! Don’t do that! They want you to click and go to their fake website, which looks exactly like the real one, type your password, and then they’ll steal your email or social media!
If you think your bank messaged you, contact them directly, never click on random email or text message links.
Also watch out for those text messages saying “you just placed this order, if you didn’t then call this number to cancel.” Really? What company tells you after a purchase, “If you didn’t place this order, call this number.” That in itself should be a red flag.
You have a secure email, click here to open it. Nope!
You have a new voice message click here to listen. Nope!
Your UPS package is being held, call us. Nope.
Your uncle left you a mansion. Nope.
The IRS is going to cancel your social security number. Nope.
At the end of the day, you have to be very careful online. We spend years building up these accounts, it would be a horrible shame to have someone steal them and use it to rob from your friends.
Just a life long New Yorker sharing the journey through my lens. Please take note of a post’s date. The views I express here are subject to change and evolving as I grow and learn.