Social media accounts are being hacked and flooded with indecent images of children, potentially causing distress and reputational damage to the account holder. Since January 2022, 325 people have reported falling victim to this type of hack.
Analysis of crime reports by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau indicates that criminals may be targeting social media accounts registered with email addresses that use custom domain names which have expired. Some victims also reported receiving suspicious emails from social media platforms asking them to “verify their account”, with the links in the emails leading to genuine-looking websites that were designed to steal login details.
What you need to do
- If you come across indecent images of children online, report it to the police by calling 101 or visiting your local police station. You should take with you the device you were using when you came across the images.
- Do not, under any circumstances, screenshot, save or share the image. You will not be required to share the images with the police when making a report.
- Use 2-step verification (2SV) to protect your social media accounts. 2SV can keep people from gaining access to your accounts, even if they know your password.
- Ensure your social media accounts use a strong and different password to your other accounts. Combining 3 random words that each mean something to you is a great way to create a password that is easy to remember but hard to crack.
- Victims of account hacking should not pay any ransoms, whether it is monetary or in the form of a ‘testimony’ video.
- If your social media account has been hacked, you should report it to Action Fraud by visiting actionfraud.police.uk, or by calling 0300 123 2040.