How To Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams With Instagram's New Feature

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Instagram has been stepping up its game lately, and one of the latest of these updates includes a security feature that helps you protect yourself from phishing scams on Instagram. Phishing is a type of scam where people send fake emails pretending to be a legitimate company in order to gain confidential information about users. And though it's hard to eliminate phishing altogether, companies can take action to try to reduce the chances of users getting scammed.

Instagram announced the security feature on Oct. 7 as a way of helping users determine if the emails they receive claiming to be from Instagram are really from Instagram or just part of a phishing scam meant to capture users' login information. These phishing emails often come from an account disguised as the company, claiming that someone has attempted to sign into your account, according to PCMag. They then prompt you to follow a link and input your username and password in order to confirm that you did not try to sign into your account from another device. After that, they can retain this information and hack you.

But thanks to Instagram's new feature, you can be more aware of what emails are legitimate or not. The feature does this by allowing you to cross-check your emails with any account security emails Instagram has sent in the last 14 days. If the email you received is on the list Instagram shows, you can rest assured that it's safe. But if the email you received is not on Instagram's list, it's likely a scam and should be avoided at all costs for your own security.

"Bad actors are getting better at imitating emails from Instagram, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to distinguish between a genuine email and a fake one," an Instagram spokeswoman said, according to CNET. Email phishing can be dangerous and while we may think we're not susceptible to falling prey to one of these phishing scams, it can happen to the best of us.

The new security feature is fairly easy to navigate. You go onto your account and click on the icon that leads you to your profile. Then you click on the menu button in the top right corner of the screen. If you go to your settings after this and click into the "Security" tab, you'll see a new option pop up that allows you to see "Emails from Instagram." Here, you'll be able to see a list of all the emails Instagram has sent regarding security under the "Security" tab on the left, and then all the other emails Instagram has sent (regarding fun updates and other non-security matters) under "Other." By comparing any emails you receive to the list Instagram provides, you can keep tabs on real or fake emails you get.

Instagram has been increasing its efforts to make the app as simple and as useful as possible. Aside from this security update it has deleted the Following Activity tab on the app, created a separate app called "Threads" where users can share quick photos and videos throughout the day in a Snapchat-like fashion, and has even made efforts to combat the effects of cyber-bullying through its "Restrict" feature.