LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Bitcoin scams, in which criminals hack into personal accounts and friends lose money, are spreading on social media.
So, how can you protect yourself?
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CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff followed-up with a Long Beach woman who tried reasoning with her hacker and got tips on how to keep your accounts safe.
“My heart is broken because they lost money,” Calette Morales said.
Morales has her Instagram account back, but it came at a high price paid by trusting friends.
“Three of my friends were stolen a couple thousand dollars,” Morales said.
A hacker posed and posted has Morales, claiming she was making big profits from Bitcoin.
“It makes me sick to my stomach to know that they were thinking that that was me coaching them through this,” Morales said.
Morales, a victim of skyrocketing cryptocurrency scams, tried to reason with the hacker, but to no avail.
She wants to protect others by sharing how she clicked on a link from someone she thought she knew. But it turned out that person was also hacked.
“She just kept asking me to vote for her. So that’s what people have to look for. They have to look for, ‘Hey, I’m going to send you a link,’” Morales said.
Experts say never open an unsolicited link, and never make a significant payment without verifying.
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“Text that person, reach out to them on a different platform so that you can verify that they’re actually sending you something legitimate,” said digital marketing expert Beth Zinman.
Zinman suggests enabling two-factor authentication.
“This way when hackers try to get in, you will be the only person that can provide a code,” Zinman said.
And update passwords.
“Password reuse is one of the most common ways that people lose control of their accounts. Having unique passwords is an ideal scenario,” said Keith Strassberg, Cybersafe Solutions COO.
If your account is hijacked, alert your contacts. Immediately and repeatedly report the hack to the platform.
In a statement, Instagram said, “We have sophisticated measures in place to stop bad actors in their tracks before they gain access to accounts, as well as measures to help people recover their accounts.”
“We know we can do more here, and we’re working hard in both these areas to stop bad actors before they cause harm,” the statement continued.
Morales said they must.
“I want them to get their money back. I want this to stop. I want the people that are running these platforms to put an end to this,” Morales said.
Recovering an account is a painful process. You’re far better off avoiding it altogether by being ever mindful of what you’re clicking on.
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Morales was able to regain control of her account after two days through Instagram’s facial recognition system.