FACEBOOK, Instagram and Twitter users have been warned of a scam that promises to verify their account for money.
Hackers are said to be approaching members of the public, and asking for details including their password, address and phone number in return for a blue tick.
The blue verified badge is there to tell people that the account of public interest is authentic.
Twitter had already said on Tuesday it mistakenly verified some fake accounts that they now permanently suspended.
The company had relaunched verification in May after a freeze on public submissions, saying only “notable” users would be awarded the badge.
To get a blue tick, Twitter says your account “must be be authentic, notable, and active”.
But in a statement Tuesday they said: “We mistakenly approved the verification applications of a small number of inauthentic (fake) accounts.
“We have now permanently suspended the accounts in question, and removed their verified badge, under our platform manipulation and spam policy.”
Facebook – which owns Instagram – has also said such a scam could result in a permanent ban for those trying to sell the verification.
According to a report by CNET users are approached by accounts which disappear after promising the classification. They are said to target users by sending direct messages to their accounts.
On Instagram scammers are said to be asking for $1,000 to help people get verified.
One message sent by a scammer on TikTok and seen by CNET read: “Your account has been followed for 30 days, and it has been determined that you are eligible to receive the TikTok Blue Badge.”
TikTok are said to have confirmed the phishing form sent across was fake.
‘DON’T FALL FOR IT’
After receiving the scam message one anonymous social media user said: “The realistic part of me was like, ‘don’t fall for this scam’.
“All these little red flags were going off in my brain, but I was super excited. I wasn’t thinking clearly.”
The Federal Trade Commission had warned last year: “In 2019, total reported losses to these frauds reached $134 million.
“But reported losses reached record highs, climbing to nearly $117 million in just the first six months of 2020.”
The FTC adds: “In that time, the reported scams that started on social media often related to online shopping, romance scams, and supposed economic relief or income opportunities.”
A spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said: “If we detect that verification was acquired in a malicious way, or that an individual is selling verified accounts to others we will take action that could lead to permanent removal from Instagram.
“[We] regular[ly] sweep both on and off the platform to remove malicious actors from Instagram.”