NEW JERSEY – Authorities have received over the last several months reports that some people have been receiving somewhat alarming emails claiming to represent Instagram.
The emails indicated that the person’s account made copyright violations, which would result in its permanent deletion in 12 or 24 hours. These emails were not from Instagram and they were phishing attempts, state police said.
According to the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, “phishing” is a form of social engineering in which a threat actor attempts to trick victims into visiting a malicious site and disclosing sensitive information such as account login credentials, financial information, personally identifiable information, or opening a malicious attachment that installs malware onto their system. Phishing attacks can be conducted through email, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, SMS text messages, or over the phone.
There are all types of phishing strategies, which sport clever monikers such as spear-phishing, whaling, smishing, vishing, etc. that target different victims from banks, businesses and individuals to law enforcement agencies, state police said.
What you need to know is that you should never click on links or open attachments delivered with unexpected and unsolicited emails, social media messages or text messages. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Forward any suspicious emails to the company or person it’s claiming to be from in order to verify its authenticity or simply delete the message if you are certain it’s bogus. The addresses used in the fraudulent emails were clearly not from Instagram, but at a glance, some can were deceiving.
More information about phishing, can be found on the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell website.