Netsafe has noticed a spike in reports from people who have had their social media profiles cloned by scammers who are using the new ‘cloned’ profile to impersonate the owner of the original profile – often they claim the person is now selling access to explicit content through a subscription service like Only Fans. Read on to find out how this scam works and what you should do if you are targeted by this scam.  

HOW DOES A CLONED SCAM WORK

Scammers will normally ‘clone’ a public Instagram account, creating a new account with a similar username and using photos from the original account. The impersonation account often explains that the user has a porn subscription service (e.g. OnlyFans or JustForFansand have a link to this account in the Instagram bio for people to click on.  

When people click on the link, it doesn’t usually lead to one of these websites, but rather a different website cleverly designed to look like an OnlyFans or JustForFans profile. The fake website will then ask for login and credit card details, which are then used by the scammers to try and get access to accounts like bank accounts.  

Social engineering at its best requires believability, confidence and a little luck to make it all plausible and make sense.

HOW TO AVOID HAVING YOUR ACCOUNT CLONED

Scammers target public social media accounts like Instagram as they can then take multiple photos to make the impersonation account more realistic. It’s a good idea to review your privacy settings (you can find more information from Instagram hereso that only approved followers can see your photos.  

IF A SCAMMER HAS CLONED YOUR ACCOUNT

There are a few things you can do:

  • Report the Instagram account as both ‘Abuse’ and as an impersonation account. You can find instructions on how to report this account as an impersonation one here.
  • You can find instructions on how to report this account as abuse here. If you have been blocked by the scammer, both links include forms you can fill in to report to Instagram instead of reporting in-app.
  • Report the linked website to the site host. They may have terms and conditions against this type of impersonation 
  • Report abusive content to Wix. 
  • If the account and page haven’t come down after a few days, contact Netsafe’s helpline team as we may be able to assist.

CONTACT NETSAFE

If you’re concerned about the immediate safety of you or someone else, please call 111. If you want help or expert incident advice, you can contact us. Our service is free, non-judgemental and available seven days a week.

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