Cyber attacks on young adults on the rise due to cryptocurrency

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(KLAS) — Young adults on social media are increasingly becoming the targets of hackers and federal data shows crypto-currency scams have skyrocketed. But there are some simple things to do to protect yourself.

Mary Peplin said she thought she was messaging a friend from high school on Instagram. She shared her phone number and clicked on a link but it turned out to be a scam. “I started getting messages and phone calls from friends and family– asking me, ‘hey mary, are you on your on your instagram right now asking me for money?’” Peplin said. “I think I had a panic attack. I was mortified. I was crying. I was upset. I did not know what to do.”

Crypto-currency scams have skyrocketed during the pandemic. The federal trade commission estimates that since october 2020, people ages 20-49 were five times more likely to lose money in these online investment scams. “You want to trust your gut,” Consumer Reports technology writer Thomas Germain said. “If you have a bad feeling about someone you’re talking to on the internet, you want to listen to those instincts.”

Germain says other steps you can take include: not responding if it’s someone you don’t know, check before you click on a link, and limit Venmo or cash app payments to friends only.

Peplin said she wants Instagram to do more to protect users like her. Instagram provided a statement that reads in part, “We have sophisticated measures in place to stop bad actors in their tracks before they gain access to accounts, as well as measures to help people recover their accounts … we know we can do more here, and we’re working hard in both these areas to stop bad actors before they cause harm.”



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