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How a scammer logged Instagram CEO out of his account

A scammer, who goes by the alias Syenrai managed to lock Instagram boss Adam Mosseri out of his own account, after they used the platform’s memorialization feature to fake Mosseri’s death.

The memorialization feature allows people to report deaths of account holders, provided they give the platform a death certificate, obituary or news article that mentions the account holder’s name. The account will then be locked and tagged as ‘Remembering’ by Instagram.

Speaking with Motherboard, Syenrai said that they did it to highlight a very real problem that users face. Though, Mosseri’s account was soon restored, other’s who have had this done to their profiles, have had to wait much longer. Sometimes, even weeks. Mosseri’s account was targeted to bring the platform’s lax verification systems to notice.

Syenrai shared the email exchange with Instagram staff, who were easily duped into believing Mosseri was dead. The staff were easily convinced and Syenrai says that it doesn’t take much to get the account locked. A simple obituary dated within the week of the request does the trick.

“I have a method which is as simple as finding an online obituary of a person who recently passed away,” Syenrai told the publication.

“I then submit a memorialize request for the victim’s account using the random obituary I found, and it takes 1-2 days for support to process.”

An Instagram spokesperson told Motherboard over email that, “Like other internet services, Instagram has online forms to help people report suspicious activity or to let us know a friend or family member has passed away.” But, “Unfortunately, some people abuse these forms, so we hire investigators and cybersecurity specialists to detect scammers’ tactics so we can improve and make it increasingly difficult for them.” Moneycontrol

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