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Social Media Hijacking: What it is & How To Stay Safe


More than half of the world’s population uses at least one social media platform. Users can post to Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat for all their followers to see. When a friend, family member, or influencer posts to social media, do you ever question whether they actually created the post? Would you trust them if they posted about an investment that helped them earn thousands of dollars? You should consider that they may actually be a cybercriminal who’s using social media hijacking to gain your trust and your money.

What Is Social Media Hijacking?

Social media hijacking is when a cybercriminal gains access to another user’s social media account. To hijack the account, cybercriminals often send the user an email with a phishing link that brings the user to a fake login page. When the user enters their login credentials, the cybercriminal steals the credentials to log in to the user’s account and change their password. Then, the cybercriminals have full control over the user’s account.

How Do Cybercriminals Use the Hijacked Account?

After the cybercriminals hijack the account, they can try to convince the user’s followers to invest money or participate in a giveaway by sending them direct messages or creating public posts. Because the followers believe the original user wrote the message or post, they are more likely to believe that the investment or giveaway is legitimate. For example, in a recent scam, cybercriminals hijacked users’ accounts and tried to convince them to send a video endorsing a Bitcoin scheme. In exchange for the video, the cybercriminals claim they will give the account back to the original user. Instead, the cybercriminals post the video to the user’s account to convince more followers to invest in the scam.

How Can I Keep My Account Safe?

  • If you receive a login link through email or text message, never click it. Always log in directly to the social media app or website.
  • If someone you follow on social media posts something suspicious or sends you a suspicious email, follow up with the person directly instead of replying over social media. Call or text the person to confirm that they sent the message or created the post.
  • Never trust giveaways or fast-money schemes that seem too good to be true. These giveaways and schemes are almost always scams.
  • Never send money, credit card information, or banking information over social media. If a giveaway requests payment information, it is most likely a scam. If someone you follow requests money from you in return for an item or service, contact the person directly by calling or texting them.



Created by The KnowBe4 Security Team

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