Agents, the target of Instagram scammers
Bespoke Media's chief executive, Nic Fren has warned of the ongoing Instagram scam attacks that are targeting real estate agents.
It was really scary, says the social media expert who has spent a decade building his profile on social media. "To think that a simple slip up could cost a large part of my public profile to disappear is extremely concerning and something all agents should be aware of" he says.
The account wasn't accessed due to security measures Mr Fren had put in place and from being aware of these scams. However, he stresses that 2022 has seen a high number of agents lose control of their Instagram accounts due to a new tactic which is seeing the scammer going through the profile's followers and making contact as that person.
"It seems real enough because the message has come directly from that person asking for help logging into their account," he says. The agent then receives a link which claims to allow the person to get back into their account, which is actually a link to their own account where the hacker gains control.
Once done, that person's entire follower list is at risk of the pattern continuing.
Why real estate agents?
"A lot of our content is showcasing our sales, nice cars, luxury holidays & lifestyle. We are almost like sitting ducks for hackers", says Mr Fren who suggests they are looking at your profile to determine whether or not you would be a good target.
I've been on the receiving end of quite a few high profile agent scam attempts this year in Sydney's eastern suburbs and have seen the frustration in trying to get your account back.
Your online brand is too important to not have the appropriate measures in place to protect you from being hacked.
My best advice to protect your social media accounts are:
1) Two-Factor authentication - This is a security feature that helps protect your Instagram account and your password. Whenever someone tries to login to your account from an unknown device you will receive a notification and be asked to enter a code or accept or decline the login attempt.
2) Insure your accounts - Many don't realise you can insure your accounts with platforms like Notch whose crisis management team of experts work around the clock to help you retrieve your account.
3) Make your passwords difficult - by adding numbers & symbols you make it more difficult for someone to guess your password.
4) Be wary of Facebook emails - I've seen emails which appear to come from Facebook and they look really convincing. To the point I almost clicked on a link. Be sure to always check the email address of the sender. If you receive an email from Facebook that looks real and the email address is a gmail account, it's a scam. Don't click the link.
Sadly, the attempts are getting better and I'm seeing more and more people fall victim to these scams. It's a reminder to not put all your eggs in one basket and ensure you are building an audience across multiple platforms.