In a honeypot tactic used to abduct Israelis, Iran is using fake Instagram accounts of beautiful women to lure Israelis abroad to meet, the Mossad spy agency and the Shin Bet security agency said Monday in a joint statement.
The method is based on the use of fictitious profiles on social networks and making contact with Israelis who are have international commercial contacts and travel abroad, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Iranian intelligence operatives created fictitious Instagram profiles of women who appear to be engaged in business and tourism, the agencies said.
The profiles make contacts with Israeli civilians, usually those doing business overseas, and attempt to coordinate business meetings with them abroad or lure them with romantic overtures.
The intelligence agencies warned Israelis who conduct business abroad to be cautious of people approaching them from unknown social media accounts.
“This pattern of action is well-known and is similar to that previously used by Iran against opponents of the regime in Europe. Iran is currently using similar methods against Israeli citizens seeking to develop legitimate commercial ties” in various European and Arab locales, the agencies said.
“There is genuine concern that such activity by Iranian operatives could lead to attempts to harm or abduct Israelis in those countries in which Iranians are active,” they added.