Social media influencers and bloggers are used to coming under attack - but they also appear to be the latest targets of hackers and spoofers seeking to earn quick money using nefarious hacking techniques.

Little Red Riding Hood. We all know the story, right? Innocent little girl gets fooled by a wolf into thinking that her granny is lying in bed, sick. Meanwhile, said wolf has actually eaten the granny, and lying in wait (in the granny's clothes) for the girl to visit. This is a spoof attack - albeit a simplistic one. And this type of attack occurs on- and off-line. I've become aware this past week of a number of bloggers and social media influencers falling victim to spoof attacks, all of a similar nature, which has culminated in them being blackmailed for up to £3000 or losing access to their prized Instagram accounts. Some of you may be wondering what the "big deal" about losing access to your Instagram is. For many, it won't make much difference - may be losing access to a couple of hundred photographs. For others, it's their last five years (and more) work; it's building an

audience, a clan, that buys their products or courses. We, of course, also know that some big companies pump some big money into marketing on these platforms with these influencers as their billboard. So yes, it's a big deal. The scam, though, is relatively simplistic. It starts with the target receiving an email offering the opportunity to collaborate with a well-known brand. Cleverly, the email links to the brands Instagram page - but doesn't actively encourage you to visit Instagram. Instead, it links to the "company's store" - with their Instagram URL as the text. (for the sake of those searching their preferred search engine to find out more, I've included the email below): Hi!I am creative and ad manager from @instagram-username. I've been following your blog since 2017.I show your recent post to creative director of @instagram-username . Your recent post really resonated with me and my team, and we have an offer to you. We thought it was…