Criminals are targeting Snapchat users, extorting money by threatening to reveal private photos and taking over accounts, according to the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC).
Users are now being advised by the SBRC to watch out for any suspicious activity or communications from friends accounts in order to stay safe while using the app.
How does the scam work?
There have been reports of criminals contacting users over the social media app from another hacked account. This gives the false impression that the account is owned by someone the user knows.
The fraudsters have then been reported to deceive people by claiming to be a friend who needs help with their account or needs money to help solve a problem. Some claim they want to add you to a friends list and need your personal details to do so.
The fraudster’s goal is to trick the user into handing over control of their Snapchat account in order to access their photos, personal details, and contacts list.
Some scammers then use a compromised account to ask for money from friends, while others access the victim’s private photos to use for blackmail.
How to protect yourself
The SBRC has published a variety of safety measures for Snapchat users to ensure they remain safe online.
- Check with a friend through other contact methods to confirm whether or not they have sent you a message over snapchat, if you receive a message from them which seems suspicious or unexpected
- Double check friend requests and don’t accept any from people you don’t know personally
- Don’t share your email and password details and only login on the official website or app
- Never share any codes or pin numbers and be very cautious of sharing your phone number or email address over social media
- Make sure you use a strong password using at least three unconnected words that are memorable to you