Instagram Phishing Scam Targets Russian Entrepreneurs

  • In this scam, potential victims are asked to transfer some money to get a promised bigger amount.
  • Scammers created true copy messages using carefully selected extracts from real news releases and television shows.

Hackers were found running a large-scale phishing campaign on Instagram to scam Russians by promising them a decent sum payment to start their business.

About the scam campaign

As per reports, more than 200,000 people viewed the messages since the campaign launch.

  • The hacker group has allegedly crafted a fake presidential decree that promises a payment amount for citizens willing to embark on their new business journey.
  • As observed by the experts, the cybercriminals have made great effort in promoting their announcement and make it look legit.
  • The scam appears to be the kind where potential victims are asked to transfer some money to get a promised bigger amount, which is upwards of 100,000 rubles (~$1,600).

Most importantly, in the process, the payment card info is also collected.

How does the scam campaign work?

Experts found two phishing websites dedicated to this campaign.

  • Once a target lands on one of these websites, it needs to check eligibility and entitlement to receive the fund.
  • In the next, the target is asked to make a 300 rubles (~$5) fee payment for the electronic application to get it.
  • The checkout page asks for more details, including the phone number and information on the payment card (name, number, CVV code). Needless to say that the crooks get both the registration fee and all the data provided.

Other key findings

Fraudsters rely on advertisements delivered on Instagram to promote the scheme.

  • Both the phishing sites had valid digital certificates and purporting to be "official resources" of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development.
  • Scammers created true copy messages using carefully selected extracts from real news releases and television shows.
  • There’s a video detailing the results of a "social contracts program" from several Russian regions.