Latest Scam: Social Media ‘Ransomware’

A stolen social media account can halt a strong marketing campaign if a scammer shutters the account and demands payment to again get access to your followers.

MIAMI – A “prolific media scammer” has successfully targeted at least one real estate agent in Miami. The scammer calls himself OBN, though successful scams eventually attract copycats.

Social media scammers tend to target posters with large followings, and the Miami agent not only had 100,000 Instagram followers, but she also made money off an OnlyFans account. OBN has also targeted celebrities and others.

According to ProPublica, the scammer told the agent he would make “sure that your life is miserable” and “try and get as much money out of you” as he could.

How the scam works

A scammer finds a way to shut down a social media account, possibly by stealing the user’s password. They then contact the owner of the stolen account and demand money if they want to regain access to their followers. The scammer might also begin posting in someone else’s name, which has caused problems for some of the celebrities.

OBN calls himself the “log-out king” and claims he’s made $300,000 so far.

According to a Meta spokesperson, OBN has caused dozens of accounts to be dropped, adding that the scammer’s technical expertise is only part of the problem and is “trumped by his ability to scam people into thinking he can ban and restore their accounts.”

Source: The Real Deal, April 3, 2023, Holden Walter-Warner

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