Instagram users should be warned about availability of any app of the social network for desktop or laptop PCs. According to Symantec Corp, a version of an Instagram app circulating online could be a mere scam. ‘Instagram for PC’ was described by the PC security company as an ‘Instascam.’ That is because instead of facilitating access to Instagram, downloading the app would just ask its victims to complete a survey form.
The app claims to be an emulator so that users could access the service easily. But in reality, it does not deliver what it promises to do. The scam may be targeting the millions of users of the popular social network, which now stores up to 1 billion pictures from its users.
Strategy for scammers
‘Instagram for PC’ was found to be another tactic for scammers to make unsuspecting victims complete online surveys. Symantec thinks it is possible that this could be a strategy by those who aim to generate income through affiliate programs. However, the fake app could be enticing because of the lure as well as the attractive presentation.
But, as expected, the application, once downloaded, does not work. The user/victim would just encounter an error message that tells about ‘missing DLL.’ There would be a message asking the user to download the missing file. Upon clicking ‘yes,’ he would be asked to click various social sharing options. Eventually, he would be asked to complete a survey first.
There is another version of ‘Instagram for PC’ scam. This later version asks the user to ‘activate’ Instagram first before proceeding. Any attempt to go on with the download would still redirect the user to another survey form that should be completed.
If there is any consolation, according to Symantec, that would be the fact that ‘Instagram for PC’ scam app does not bring about malicious functionality. However, the PC security software vendor warned that if the fake app tried to mimic the actual log in page of Instagram, it could facilitate stealing of users’ personal data, which could be used by scammers for many other unscrupulous purposes.
Most online browsers have not indicated any reported problem linked to the downloading of the fake ‘Instagram for PC.’ To date, the app download could possibly be still up and running. Meanwhile, another PC security vendor, McAfee SiteAdvisor, categorized the fake app as ‘malicious.’ It warns consumers of the possible risks of downloading the app.
In the end, Symantec reminded Instagram users that there is actually no need to download any app for the photo-sharing app. That is because Instagram could readily be accessed in any browser through its Web address.
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