Last week one of my worst nightmares happened! My instagram was hacked and being held hostage for ransom, they said if I did not pay they would delete it! Talk about panic, wanting to throw up, and shaking. I was so nervous, 2 years of hard work and content… This is my business, how could this happen?
HOW: Thursday, August 9th… Morning, my normal routine, did my post, answered DM’s and was going through my emails….and came across a collaboration that looked interesting (I get collaborations in my inbox daily so it isn’t new). It was from a representative of the store The Kivari_the_Label (this is a real company) and asked me my rates and wanted to know if I wanted to collaborate. It was a little broken English but not different then some of the companies I get from China. The email also had a link… I did not click on the link (I never do) I thought I knew better… I looked up the company’s website and instagram to see if they would be a fit for me and my brand, it was darling and had clothing I would love to collaborate with. I then answered the representative, stating I would love to work with them, attached my rates and media kit. NOW THIS IS WHERE HE GOT ME…. In short he replied, stating great which items was I thinking would work with a LINK… I CLICKED, it didn’t work!!! shaking my head NOW! I answered him back saying your link is not working….He didn’t answer back, which isn’t unusual, companies get busy and can take a couple days! (note: the hacker did not work for Kivari, He was just acting like he was!) I go about my day and checked on Instagram at about 3:00 PM, answered some messages, scrolled through and put my phone down (this became relevant later)! At 5:20 PM I got an email saying that my email account was changed on my Instagram, obviously I didn’t do this myself. So I clicked on Instagrams revert button… and it wouldn’t work!! Crap why isn’t it working? I then got on Instagram tried to log in, nothing.. I had to make an account so I could start emailing all the Instagram sources I could find! Its after 5:00 and nobody is working at Instagram and good luck trying to get some one to help you! I then got on message boards, a couple of blogger pods and groups… Posted what happened and was seeing if anyone knew what to do?? I got an outpouring of love & support and ideas of what to try! I also got tons people saying this is happening everyday and to read this blog MISS Tara Belle, I read and messaged her! Then later this blog got hacked Peppered in Style, and then this blog too Raelyns Roulette! Oh my gosh, how many people is this happening to? Girls with a following of 30,000 to 101K my gosh! People kept telling me, my account is being held for ransom you’ll get an email! Hours go by and still no email, it’s now late Thursday, no email and no help from Facebook/Instagram! I stick to trying to research for help and keep digging up people this has happened too, and the girls with the blog post, start to answer me back! Some paid and didn’t get their account back, one waited until she could get some help and one paid the day the email came and she negotiated ransom down and she got her account back! I still hadn’t gotten an email! At this point I am getting really worried, the more I investigate and I still DON’T have an email as to where my account is or what is happening! I finally had a friend on telegraph show me how to get to a place on Instagram that lets you click “I’ve been hacked” and it emails you a form! On that form it ask’s a series of questions and when was the LAST TIME you had control of your Instagram… I was glad I could remember 3:00! It’s now past working time on Facebook… I think I did this process at least 4 times, and didn’t hear back. People said it takes a long time to hear from Facebook/Instagram sometimes even 5-10 days!! It’s late and I don’t get any sleep… I dose off at some point & wake up to the dreaded EMAIL saying my account had been HACKED and that if I don’t pay in Bitcoin, my account will be deleted! WHAT??? I panicked…. I don’t have Bitcoin, I haven’t heard a thing from Facebook/Instagram…. what am I going to do? I emailed the criminal back to stall… I don’t have the money, I don’t have a bitcoin account etc., this goes on throughout the day and at the same time, I am getting the word out and sharing my story as much as I can and It’s really not looking good! I am thinking “Man, how am I gonna stall the hacker long enough for someone to answer back with help?”, should I just pay the ransom?
Then I prayed! I prayed God would put the right person in my path that would help me, that could lead me in the right direction! I prayed all day long, I asked friends who believe in the power of prayers to pray…. and guess what?? At 8:52 Friday night I get a message from Aurora McCausland A fellow blogger, but a total stranger that I did not know, had heard my story and wanted to help! She too had been hacked and she GOT HELP from a real person at Facebook with a direct email and wanted to share it with me and she also stated this man helped 3-4 others get their accounts back! She calmed me down by saying “do not answer the hackers emails any more, they’re just empty threats, he wants money he is not going to delete your account!” She was lucky to get her account back the day it was taken, but a couple of the others had to wait 3-5 days as well, due to the weekend. She said “Just try to stay calm, I am confident you will get your account back!” I emailed her contact and got an OUT OF OFFICE until Monday the 13th, this email will be deleted, basically email me again on Monday! OK, I will email Monday morning! Meanwhile I g0t contacted by Catherine Grace O’connell founder of Forever Fierce Revolution, stating she wants to help and will get in contact with her Facebook contact on Monday! She also wanted me to join her facebook group and share my story… I received an out powering of love and women wanting to help share my story and follow me! I was for very grateful for these ladies and to God, answering my prayers, He’s sending me people to help! I am at more peace on Saturday, but yet still scared and my mind wondering…What if I don’t get my account back? I starting praying “Lord I am giving this up to you! This is your battle, I trust in your outcome!
Sunday morning, I finally had a good nights sleep and I woke up to Olia Moda also a fellow blogger (her Blog here) with quite a large account and 4 1/2 years invested in her business, that her account had been hacked on the same day as mine and that in long short, she paid the hacker and he did not return her account! I felt so horrible for her, I am truly more sick for her because she has double my following and 2 1/2 more years invested then I did and she PAID these criminals! I seriously wanted to throw up for her! I was however grateful I had made the decision not to pay! I tried to encourage her like Aurora had me and thank goodness she also had faith, her account was going to be recovered! She also had a contact that she was trying to get into contact with and was going to share my story with her contact! Great, I now have 3 ladies with direct contacts at Facebook and Instagram!
I decide there is nothing I can do, I have given it to God and I am taking a break from any message-boards, and social media! I am spending the day with my family on the lake. We had a great day and I didn’t think of my loss, I didn’t touch my phone once….until after 6 PM! We were getting off the boat and heading to car and I see a text on my phone it’s Olia her account has been found!! I am texting her back with tears in my eyes and my phone rings, it’s Olia! I say in tears: “Stranger friend! I am so happy for you!” I truly was so excited her contact had recovered her account, it felt like we had been friends for years and the excitement I felt was unexplainable! Two strangers that became friends due to an event that brings us together and I honestly never thought of my account! To feel that joy for someone else, words can’t express! She then stated her guy had my info and make sure to have a brand new email account ready! We hang up, it was very emotional, I can’t even explain! I seriously cried tears of joy on the drive home. She will be sharing her story soon on: www.oliamoda.com, be sure to check it out too!
Sunday night, at 8:48 PM I get an email from Aurora’s contact that I had emailed (remember he’s on vacation and it’s Sunday). He emailed me stating he’s asked his team to look at my account and to please make sure to have a new secure email ready! I hadn’t looked at my mail…He emailed me again at 10:53 pm stating he needed a secure email account and I should hear from him by noon tomorrow! I noticed his email at 12:09am I emailed him back stating how grateful I was etc. and give him my new email. Talk about being at peace that someone was on it! At this point I never thought, “what if they can’t find it”! I dosed off and at 3:00 AM, It was like God whispered in my ear “look at your email” I shot up, opened my email and there it was….. My Account recovered and ready for a new password! I wanted to scream and dance!! Thank you, lord! I am so very grateful for yet another stranger working on a Sunday and opening an email, that said would be deleted! I wanted to hug and kiss him!! I emailed him back with gratitude and immediately TURNED ON the TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION!
I had to share this Photo, it’s how I felt when I got my account back!!
So, NOW.. I have shared my story! Here’s what you need to do, even if your business is not a blogger or influencer! On all of your accounts, from banking to social media, turn on Two Factor Authentication, this is normally found under the privacy and security of any website or app! This helps keep your accounts safe by sending a code to your cellphone number when someone is trying to sign into any of your accounts! In other words, if someone has your password and two factor authentication is on they still can’t access your account because they don’t have the passcode that was sent to your phone, so TURN IT ON NOW! It is the only thing that will truly keep your accounts safe.
*Can’t find the Two factory Authentication on your instagram? In the right corner of your main page, is a little Gear/cog/circle…click on that, then Privacy and settings, then scroll down, you’ll see Two factor Authentication, Click and turn on!
Also don’t click on links from unknown sources (on my blog you know my links are safe)! Hackers hide spyware in links, spyware can find out everything you’ve been up too and will take all of your information! (think of all the times you entered credit card number’s from shopping online!) Keep your identity and information safe!
If you get hacked…don’t panic! Even if you don’t have a direct contact, fill out the “I Got Hacked” form. It’s located on the log in page on Instagram, then go to forgot login, then on this page is trouble logging in. If you look to the middle in small print it says: “need more help?”, click this, it will take you to Request Support, scroll down to my account was hacked, click and add any additional details! This generates an email with questions, fill it out! Now this can take a couple days to get a response! BUT guess what? They do respond… so for those who get told, “Don’t count on Facebook or Instagram to help.” Don’t listen to them, I got an email back from Jeremy on Monday afternoon! I explained I was already helped and thanked him for contacting me.
Share… share your story on all social media, we need to make people aware of what’s going on and the dangers! Don’t be embarrassed, it’s happening to so many people and we need to talk about it! There will alway’s be criminals, but remember there is truly more good people in this world then the criminals and we can help each other out! Share, support, and stick together! Sharing also helps you get help, from an unknown source!
This is a Cybercrime, call and report it to your police department, if your police department doesn’t have a Cybercrime division your states FBI department does! (I am collecting names for our Local FBI as I write this)
REMEMBER: Don’t Click on Links You Don’t Know!
I will forever be grateful to all those who shared their story with me, sent encouraging notes & DM’s, followed me, followed my blog, asked me to join their group or pod, shared my story on their social accounts, sent over tips and even said prayers! I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and met some wonderful new friends!
Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my blog! OX, D’Arcy.
NOTE: As I am writing this post, I have learned of a NEW way hackers are bypassing the two factor authenticities, to get to Influencers accounts!!! They are sending a DM from the verify center which looks like it’s from Instagram… They are asking to give your account a verified badge (the little blue check by your name). It states your account has been viewed by instagram and is eligible, then to complete the verified account badge, you must specify that the account is up to date, this comes with a button: Verify My Account (a link), this is not from Instagram, DO NOT click on the button!