WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ore. (KPTV) – A Washington County woman has a warning for social media users, after she said hackers took over her Instagram account, causing many of her followers to lose hundreds of dollars.
“I’m pretty sad, actually,” said Roussy Tello Ramirez.
Ramirez is talking about a video she recorded that encouraged her Instagram followers to invest in cryptocurrency. She told FOX 12 she willingly recorded the video, after she received a similar one from a friend through Instagram.
“And she said you should try it; you should try investing,” said Ramirez. “But before you do, send me a video saying this confirmation that way we can send you $500 and then from there on you can just invest to get the $10,000.”
After Ramirez recorded the video, her friend asked for some information to complete the transaction, like her phone number and the email she uses for Instagram.
“And I said you’re not gonna hack me are you, and she said I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you,” said Ramirez. “That was the last message I received.”
“I started getting Instagram vibration, like warning, warning, somebody is trying to get into your Instagram in Nigeria,” said Ramirez. “And I kept pressing that that wasn’t me, and unfortunately, by the time I just kept pressing it, my Instagram just kicked me out,” she continued.
Ramirez said her followers then started receiving the video she recorded.
“Unfortunately, I do have over a thousand friends on Instagram, and most of them believed that it was real,” she said.
Ramirez said her followers are now keeping the scam going, by creating their own videos.
To make matters worse, she said a lot of her friends also lost hundreds of dollars each.
“I keep receiving messages that they want to get into my Cash App and they want access to my phone, but they can’t,” Ramirez said. “The good thing that, what I did is, the email that I had put in there, I no longer use it.”
The FBI on Saturday said it was aware of reports that unauthorized emails were coming from a legitimate FBI email address to thousands of organizations about a purported cyber threat.
“It’s an old email and nothing is linked to my bank account,” she continued.
“Hackers, they understand that an emotional connection that you might have with someone will trigger you to act,” said Wu-chang Feng, a computer science professor at Portland State University.
Feng isn’t surprised by this scam, or that people are falling for it.
“Social media is such that you do want to connect seamlessly and frictionlessly with your friend and the whole point of that, is not to have to pick up a phone to pick up a phone to verify,” said Feng. “So, you just take it at face value.”
“Most of us would, and that’s where the real danger is,” continued Feng.
Feng said always confirm with a friend outside of social media, and if you can, set up two-factor authentication with every account you use. He said that’s because even with just an email or phone number today, scammers can hack into all kinds of sites.
“I kind of got pretty sad after I realized not necessarily that they affected me, but it affected other people and financially,” said Ramirez.
The hackers are still posting as Ramirez, even saying she bought a new car with her $10,000.
Feng said that’s a whole other issue, how long it can take to get a hacked account back on some of these social media sites.
Feng said if someone does get scammed, they can always report the crime to authorities here.
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