I just read an article by Joe Cox over at Vice magazine where he shows just how easy it is to have pretty much any unverified Instagram account with up to 100,000 followers banned from the platform. There are several providers on the dark web who can do it for as little as $60. You can read the full article HERE (https://www.vice.com/en/article/k78kmv/instagram-ban-restore-service-scam), but here are two ways an attacker could have you banned:
- Using their own verified account, the attacker for hire will change their profile to look exactly like yours and then report your account for impersonation, and you get banned as they have the verified account. In some cases, the attacker can demand many thousands of dollars to give you your account back. They get paid to attack and also to restore.
- Using multiple Instagram accounts, the attackers send multiple complaints about your account for violating Instagram’s policy on suicide or self-injury. After hundreds of complaints from hundreds of different accounts, your account will be banned from the platform.
To protect yourself from impersonation attacks:
- Get a verified profile. You can do this by following this link: https://help.instagram.com/854227311295302
- Set your profile to private so that you are only sharing with your friends and family. This way, your photos cannot be stolen by an attacker.
- Do not use a photograph of yourself on your profile picture.
Please let me know if you need help with this.
Thanks and have a good day,