Scammers are getting savvier as Lorie LeRiche recently found out.
The co-owner of Krown, a rust protection company, was duped into believing she was helping a local business.
“She asked me to vote for her for an ambassadorship. Wanting to support I said ‘sure,’” LeRiche said.
LeRiche checked out the Instagram account to verify who she was helping before making the fateful decision to click on the message.
“Instantly everything started. It logged out,” she explained.
LeRiche couldn’t get back into the business account, “I had another account that I messaged him through and then he blocked everything that had me on it.”
Jon Dezan has a social media firm and is helping LeRicke maneuver her way out of her predicament.
“It’s a landmine out there,” he said.
Dezan says once hackers are in control they use the account to message followers which spirals into a giant spider web of messages.
“I started getting messages and phone calls from other people that are like ‘what happened to my Instagram? I just voted for you’. I just went ‘oh no,’” LeRiche said.
Dezan says his business receives between 100 to 200 of these scam messages a week and warns there are others people should be aware of.
One involves a follower asking for help to unlock their account. The other is on Facebook and asks you to verify your account.
“You would think Facebook would have a better support system for this for small business owners considering how much business owners spend on advertising on Facebook and Instagram,” he said.
LeRiche says she’ll continue her fight to regain control of her account while warning others that something like this could cost them an opportunity to promote business or more.
“You’ll get the people that’ll say ‘you know not to click on anything when it comes in,'” she said. “I do but this one was worded just right.”