Today was a day like any other day. Uploading shots of my day into my stories and editing photos that I was getting ready to post.
Somewhere in the world, maybe closer than I think, today was a day like any other for someone with zero compassion. A hacker found my account and decided they would steal everything I worked hard on, all of my hard work and endless inspiration poured into a site I made my own. They were going to take that from me. Take it, do what I don’t know and ransom it for the sum of $315.
My initial thought of this was an array of curse words and a dash of hatred. Hatred for a “human being” out there that thought nothing to make money off of another persons hard work and time.
To some, Instagram is a source of income. I am one of that some. My family depends on the extra income that I receive from my work here on social media. I am using the platform to grow my name and grow my network for hopefully something bigger one day, a company of my own, who knows. This community knows, that work and lots more work goes into this. We are all faced with obstacles on this site as it is, we are lucky, grateful for the platform to grow, but we are also thriving just like any other business.
At approximately 12:30 today, I was sent an offer from a company to look at their clothes and decide if I wanted to work with their brand. I read the email, it all looked just like any other email. However, when I clicked the link, I was automatically rerouted to my Instagram which was already logged into. Within moments, I was sent an email from Instagram asking me if this was me trying to log in from a town not too far from my home, I clicked no it was not me. Instagram bypassed this somehow and the hacker had already changed my @thislittlemom handle to a jumbled up mix of letters and numbers. I reported that my account was hacked and I couldn’t get into this. Nothing happened.
They had already stolen what I worked for right from under me and made it their own.
Moments after these emails, I received another email stating that my account was blocked and they wanted $315 from me to get everything back from them. I didn’t trust this for a second. I’m a person who will not step down, I also am a person who doesn’t know how to shut her mouth. I immediately cursed at them.
How dare they? Asking me to pay money for my own photos and my own page? Is this a sick joke?
Unfortunately, it was not a joke. They began to email me telling me they’d sell my page with the photos of my child on the black market now that they had the ownership to my page. I panicked. I know there are sick people out there, but this to me was stomach turning, straight out of a horror movie bull****. Before I got to think much further T had already phoned local authorities who in my town, this had never happened. The officer was beyond nice, so helpful and also along with us, didn’t know what to do. We reported this fraud and ransom to the FBI, they have a special team who deals with this. I left the station with support from a local police officer and some hope things may turn out okay.
We got home, phoned the state police unit to get in touch quicker. While this was happening, my best friend Jessica (@life_with_twins_plus2) was being reached out to on her social media page, she asked for help for me like the amazing human being she is (the world needs more of Jessica) and we received some answers. T found a website of a woman who was hacked and lost her 57K followers and also paid them. She rebuilt herself and was an inspiration. She answered me from her cousins wedding on social media from my family Instagram account, a name she didn’t even know. She got me to the right person and I found the correct way to go about everything.
Within an hour I was directed by Instagram to take a photo of myself with a code they sent me and write it on a sheet of paper along with my information and send the photo back. In this time I was also able to find my account with its new user name via some really amazing new friends who helped within seconds, not asking for a dime or favor in return.
Instagram worked so fast to get my page back, the people along the way, T, my best friend Jess, the local authorities and state police, we got my account back and secured it.
I am going to share the steps to recovering below. However, if you are reading this currently, turn on your two-factor-authentication and don’t be as naive as I was to believe that everyone has good in them.
I am here if you need help, this was a scary situation and I hope we can work together to spread the word.
••• ABOVE : This was the initial email that was sent with the link. ••••
•••• BELOW : The emails to follow from the hackers, just 2 of the 20+ ransom requests and threats. •••••
••••• ABOVE: The screenshot they sent me that my account was still active just that they had access and I did not.•••••
••••• BELOW: The Instagram account linked to the email of the company scamming. ••••••••
Also, I need to add in, this below image was sent from the hackers as well to my email address from a like Facebook email. They were posing as Facebook to make it seem like my only option was to pay them to get my account back. Below I will show you how to get the real Facebook to answer you and not to believe this.
Steps to getting your account back!
If you cannot get into your account at all or access by email like my situation, do this as fast as possible.
Step one, enter your username and click on “forgot password“.
Step two, you will be prompted to the next photo shown below, click the options “need more help”.
Step three, you will be prompted to enter your issue in the fields given. I chose to write my email that I signed up with and chose my personal email address to be contacted by seeings as the hackers were faking being Facebook in the mean time.
This option got me the quickest response.
I was emailed a code, I was told to write the code on a piece of paper along with my name and @handle. I had to stand in clear lighting and send the photo back to the email address.
My account was located, I was given a link to click and follow instructions. It was restored and I regained my account. The first thing I did, turn on the two factor authentication.
Again, good luck!
Oh my gosh, how scary! I can’t imagine how stressful that was for you. Thank you for taking screenshots along the way 🙏 it’s good to have this information in the back of my mind in case this ever happens to me!
It was definitely a very intense time and the emotions that were going through me were too hard to even put into words! Thank you for reading! I hope that this stops happening!
Instagram must have changed some of this because sue it doesn’t look the same. I am going through this same exact thing right now. I cant even get a hold or turn in any forums to turn the request into Instagram because the hacker was smart and made my account inactive so i can submit it with an active user link. Do you have any advice for me/