Credibility on social media has replaced traditional human confidence. Even while companies only utilize it to increase revenues and brand value, social media users with regular jobs nonetheless find themselves imprisoned in the realm of digital validation. To reinforce this newly discovered superiority, social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter provide verification badges known as “Blue Ticks.” However, a mere thousand followers, hundreds of likes, and comments don’t stop this fascination with becoming a star on social media.
To obtain these “Blue Ticks,” the people behind their online profiles must fulfill certain requirements, such as having the necessary number of followers and completing the verification process. These ticks act as a credibility factor, indicating that a person is authentic and holds influence over their followers. Though people with real followers and influence in their respective communities can qualify for the verification badge, social media users with fewer followers crave that blue tick next to their profile.
The verification badge scam
Most users who do not belong to a company or campaign or have the technical knowledge about phishing, scams, and digital fraud, may want the verification batch for bragging purposes. These individuals are the main targets of fraudsters who offer to verify their accounts on Twitter and Instagram in exchange for a price.
In other cases, the scammers usually avoid the fee part and directly send a duplicate website link to the victim, which looks identical to the actual website. Then, because the bogus websites are made in a way that doesn’t feel false, the users are frequently pressured into disclosing sensitive information about their accounts. Unfortunately, some users are so taken in by the verification badge that they fail to see the red flags these websites raise, leading them to fall victim to scams.
How does the verification badge scam work?
The scam starts through social media campaigns where scammers share links and contact numbers in the comment sections of popular posts. Sometimes, they share the details by directly messaging the targets. On many social media platforms, some hackers use paid marketing tools to run campaigns to lure users into contacting them first.
Once they have selected the target accounts, they pursue the account users to wire them a small fee, and they will make the account verified on the backend. However, since this tactic is not as conceiving as it used to be, scammers use a different route to gain a financial advantage over users’ accounts.
In verification badge scams, the scammers use cloned Instagram and Twitter websites to pursue the target to enter their information. Once the user has entered the required data, the fake website asks for additional information, such as their email accounts associated with the social media page. Moreover, once they have collected all the required login details about the target, the website works in the background and shares this information with the scammer.
The frauds then use this information to change the victim’s social media account password. Within a few minutes, the victim loses his social media accounts and all the files, images, phones, financial information, and contacts saved on his devices. The scammer has the upper edge to blackmail the victim or steal money from their bank accounts.
The verification badge scam is a widespread cybercrime many people fall victim to daily. It is one of the easiest ones for scammers because they take advantage of people’s desperate needs to be relevant on social media.
How to protect your account against verification badge scams?
The first and foremost thing every social media user must do is never fall for ‘too-good-to-be-true’ offers. Another thing is getting familiar with scams, cyberattacks, and hackers. Here are some key indicators users can look up to while dealing with potential fraud. These will protect your online identity on social media platforms and help you safeguard your bank accounts and identities.
- Be aware of social media scams.
- Limit your dependence on social media if it’s not beneficial for your education, health, or career.
- Check the domain name of the website. (most fraudulent websites don’t have an SSL certification, which is required to ensure a website’s authenticity on the internet)
- Social media websites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook do not ask for passwords to the linked email accounts.
- Check if the website follows the HTTPS protocol and not HTTP.
- If a website seems suspicious or uses a different design than the original website, check the website’s authenticity using services like URLVoid, and SSLTrust.