NEW DELHI: Instagram is the second most downloaded app in the world. The Meta platform (formerly known as Facebook) offers various user-friendly functions. One such feature is memorialization, which allows users to report the death of an Instagram user by showing a death certificate, obituary, or news article as evidence. This useful Instagram feature was recently exploited by a scammer. The scammer named Syenrai is said to be banned Instagram CEO from his own Instagram account by declaring him dead.
According to a report by Vice (Motherboard), the scammer used Instagram’s reminder function, which prevents anyone from logging into the account. The report adds that Syenrai banned Adam Mosseri from Instagram in September, which the platform recently confirmed. However, this problem was quickly resolved and Mosseri’s account was quickly restored.
Speaking to Vice, Synerai mentioned that the recovery process took days and even weeks for some of the users and they stayed signed out of their Instagram account.
He also said that he attacked Mosseri’s account to expose the loophole in the company’s verification process.
Synerai shared an email conversation with Instagram support reps with Vice that showed how a fake obituary could easily be passed off as a real obituary. Scammers like Syenrai often ask people to block competing accounts and also target certain people for a fee. Synerai also adds that it doesn’t take much to convince Instagram to suspend an account.
Synerai told Vice, “I have a method that is as simple as finding an online obituary for a recently deceased person. I then submit a memorial request for the victim’s account with the random obituary I found and it takes 1-2 days to support the process. ”
“As long as the obituary is up to date (within the same week), a memorial will be placed on the goal. It works 98% of the time, “adds Synerai.
Instagram said in a statement to Vice, “Like other internet services, Instagram has forms online that help people report suspicious activity or let us know that a friend or family member has passed away. Unfortunately, some people abuse these forms, so we hire investigators and Online Safety Specialists to identify the tactics of fraudsters so that we can improve and make things more and more difficult for them. ”