Crooks are blackmailing Instagram and Snapchat users threatening to share pictures

SCAMMERS are targeting social media users on Instagram and Snapchat by blackmailing them into handing over cash.

The criminals trick you into telling them your two-factor-authentication – or 2FA – code and then use it to access your online accounts.

Scammers are blackmailing Snapchat and Instagram users
Getty – Contributor

2FA is supposed to make your account more secure by texting you a unique code that you have to enter when logging in, as well as your password.

Both Snapchat and Instagram offer users the feature which kicks into action when it detects that someone is trying to log in from a device it doesn’t recognised to stop them being hacked.

But the Met Police, along with the anti-fraud policing branch Action Fraud, has issued a fresh warning that tricksters are cracking the system.

Once the scammers have convinced you to hand over the private code, the scammers then threaten to post your private photos online unless you handover a sum of money.

Action Fraud has received “multiple reports” of the same scam, and now cops are urging social media users to stay alert to any emails or text messages asking you for the codes.

They warned: “The team @actionfrauduk are seeing an increase in the number of accounts targeted.”

It added: “Don’t respond to messages that ask for your login details or two-factor authentication codes. These can be used to compromise your account.”

Instead, users are advised to report any dodgy correspondences within the Snapchat and Instagram apps and to flag any spam messages.

Users are also being warned not to fall foul of a dangerous Instagram and Snapchat “instant cash” scam that turns you into a money launderer for crooks and could see your bank account frozen.

Today, we revealed how Instagram has accidentally leaked the private information of 49million of its users including major influencers and bloggers.

At the start of 2018, more than 55,000 Snapchat users had their login details exposed online because of a widespread phishing attack.

Last year, The Sun exposed a network of Instagram sex hashtags that allowed porn to circulate on the site.

How to spot a fake message or email

IF you've received an email or text message claiming to be from your bank or a retailer, then these are the things you should look out for:

  • Your bank or the retailer will always address a customer by name
  • They will never ask a customer for their PIN, password or full memorable information
  • The bank would never ask a customer to click on a link in an email or text message that takes you to a page which asks you for your username, password or any other information
  • They would never ask a customer to email or text them PINs, card details or passwords
  • Customers should not click on any links in emails if they have concerns
  • Customers are encouraged to call their bank if they have any concerns about an email they have received


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