This might look like a fashion post but instead today, I want to use this opportunity and share with you something that has happened to me recently and that is my Instagram account got HACKED! When I got my account back after a nightmare of a night, the first thing I did was asked if people would like to hear about my story and an overwhelming number of you have asked me to share my experience. So here I am shedding light into a situation that can happen to any one of us! So, please excuse that longer than usual blog post because I really want to help someone if they are experiencing this and hopefully not have them feel so helpless and defeated. If you like to know more on how I got my account back, what happened and my experience with Instagram support read more below and leave me a comment either here or on my Instagram which is now recovered thank goodness (make sure to note the underscore on my name now @glamouraspirit_).
A. What Happened and How I got Hacked!
A truly scary experience, I came home after an event and took care of my baby daughter until she went to bed and that is usually when I get the time to myself and respond to emails, plan my postings and collaboration etc...Looking back, maybe I was a lot more tired than usual because I took her out to the mall during the day and then drove all the way downtown for an event and then came home to take care of her more, so I think I was drained and probably not in the best frame of mind to respond to emails that night. That was my first mistake!!!!
Second mistake was not listening to my gut! So now to the email that got me (which I have attached below along with our brief conversation) so beware of this type of email from a person named Lana Gopson saying they are representative from a clothing brand called Orseund-Iris. So if you google this brand it’s a real legit brand with very expensive clothing so I was like OK even though inside all of my alarm bells were like going off ex. not addressing me personally, from a gmail account, bad spelling or misspelling and the overall tone of the email is very Phishing(derived from “fishing “which is a type of online scam where criminals send an email that appears to be from a legitimate company to “lure” and ask you to provide sensitive information like your password or credit card with a clever fake website or link)
I have never fallen to hacking before but I think this time, I was overwhelmed by the day and I have gotten collaboration with emails and brands that seem a little shady before except this time the problem was the fake instagram link which I had to put in my password (as you see from the pictures). So as I entered it a few times and told them I can’t log onto instagram, I was like this is strange and then they stopped responding and I just had a bad feeling. And my bad feeling was confirmed like 30 minutes later with an email saying there was a log-in from Firefox and then I checked and my account was GONE!
So here is a detailed timeline of how the event unfolded
At 12:30 am the Hacker stopped responding to my questions and then at 1:38 am a new login was detected (IG still gave you option to change your password here so do it quickly as possible but not sure if that would help if they already have a hold of you account). Then at 1:45am a new message from hacker with different name saying my account is Hack and page is blocked and to unblock I have 3 hrs to respond with a payment of $230 dollars or they will sell, clear or delete account. My heart literally SANK!!! And I was sick to my stomach and felt so ashamed that I was so STUPID to not listen to myself! So I tried to revert as Instagram states in an email but that didn’t work so I rushed upstairs (like 2:00 am) and wake my sleeping husband in like a crazy panic.
So below are two pictures of what the email looks like and also the fake link
B. How I Got My Account Back!
So in between our conversation with the hacker (mainly still asking for money saying they only want money and will give back account and protect it afterwards blah blah) However, my husband read that some people did pay but didn’t get their account back so that is up to you if you want to try that first! While my husband is sending emails and messages to support and figuring out how to do that which is I can’t even explain how difficult that was (they take you on these loopholes which is confusing and not helpful during testing times) Oddly calm (maybe cause I’m in a state of shock) I had good faith that my account was going to be retrieved not sure why but I did. So using my husband’ Instagram account (since I don’t have one anymore) I searched the hashtag #hackedaccounts and came upon this family IG account saying they got hacked and got help from a person named Juan from Columbia (I think?) and I was watching their IG stories about the incident and saw the same email from Lana Gopson and I got goosebumps!
So with much deliberation we decided to contact Juan because the longer you wait I think it’s harder to get your account back so he responded right away saying he can help and not to worry. OK so here is the part that is kinda shady he asked for my email password so he can talk to the hackers or whatever. And I was really uncomfortable with the idea of course but at that point I had nothing to lose. My husband spend the next 12 hours on Whatsapp (yes!) talking to Juan and watching his every move with the hackers making sure nothing suspicious is going on more. Around noon (so now we’ve been up all night no sleep and my baby woke up so we were just dying of fatigue) I finally got my account back and it was such a relief thanks to Juan and his instructions for my husband. Oh one more thing, when your account gets hacked and you send in a request to Instagram they make you take a photo with a handwritten print (where you have to show your hands) of your name, handle and this number and send it back to them to confirm its you which is very strange but that’s one of the process among many! That part did come pretty quickly this message from Facebook and not sure if Juan helped with that or not but that part was quite good. Somebody told me that they tried to send it in multiple times and it’s been a week and their account is still gone so maybe it works maybe it doesn’t I’m not sure but for me it was rather quick.
C. Final Thoughts
I honestly have never thought about my account being hacked and never knew how emotionally traumatizing it is to watch this criminal (apparently Russian) hold your account hostage and blackmail you! It’s really an out-of-body experience with feelings of extreme shame that you made such a silly and easily avoidable mistake I know the internet can be a scary place so here are some of my suggestions:
Disclaimer*** If you want to contact Juan (Instagram Juanr325) make sure to note that this has worked for me but it might not be the right way to go for you. AGAIN he will have access to sensitive information such as your email password so if you think you have anything too precious or private to let him see then please don’t use this method. If you have more questions please DM me and I be happy to answer you to the best of my abilities. I also tweeted to Instagram (of course no response) and someone said he was a hacker specialist and contacted me but I was already working with Juan then. So there are people out there that does these kind of services but again you have to decide on your own if this is the route you want to take or risk losing your account.
I am thankful that my account is back and running smoothly because I have seen a lot of people that couldn't get their accounts back and again they also paid! I mean we shouldn't even have to resort to these outside sources if Instagram support did their jobs properly! They have so many users that rely on IG as a business so why not give us better customer support? I know its a free app but still Instagram makes a lot of money and they can put out one less story filter and put some money into their support please I beg of them!
With that said, I think the frustration made me realized that I probably wouldn't start my account again! It was a lot of work (blood, sweat and tears literally) to get to where I am today! But my husband said that this shouldn’t be the way to end my IG life, it should be on my own terms of when I want to not by some cowards on their computers. I think these things happen for a reason to really help me rethink and grow. Through this incident. I have now learned to balance motherhood and blogging better and come out stronger than before. I look them in the eye and I smile :)
Thanks for reading and Stay Safe Everyone!
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A Vancouver based blog on fashion, beauty & lifestyle