My Instagram account was hacked in the second week of October and I had lost all the hopes of recovering it. It is secured now but I had to change the username. I also lost some of my followers but I am glad my nightmarish experience is over. The hacker asked for a ransom amount but I did not give in to the demands. I was upset but I waited patiently. Here is my first-hand account of the experience.
How was my Instagram account hacked?
All of this happened due to an accidental click on the link. FBforbusiness, a fake account duped me with a message stating that my last post had some authenticity issues. If I did not respond, my account would be blocked. Usually, I do not bother to answer to these messages but there was something about this one that did not make me doubt it. I did not enter any password but just clicking it was my fault. In no time, the hacker took control of my account. I had two-factor authentication, active but sometimes even that doesn’t help. I immediately received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org, that my account from logged in from Nevada, but this email came in Turkish language and ended up in the spam folder. Hence, I was not sure of its authenticity.
The Hacker began to call me and message me!
The moment my account was hacked, I received a Watsapp message from a Turkish number saying “Do you want your account back?” This left me aghast. It was very disturbing to see someone else take over my account and I could not even login. The hacker had delinked my phone number and changed my email id instantly. Whenever I clicked on ‘Forgot Password’, or ‘Need Help’, the recovery link was sent to the hacker. I even got calls from different numbers but I did not respond to any of the messages. At the end of one week, the hacker emailed with a demand of $200. I did not respond.
Did Instagram help me?
NO, they did not even bother to reply. Let me be very honest here. I tweeted almost everyday (tagging instagram), asked my friends to report that my account has been hacked, emailed the security team about the hack but all in vain. Nobody responded. I wonder if they even took notice of it, which was all the more disappointing. We, as social media influencers invest our time and money in these social media platforms, but the way they care for us is highly disappointing. The support system is useless.
In fact, whenever I tweeted, all spammers and bots came around with their replies suggesting names of hacking experts. Once again, this seemed like a nexus of hackers.
I don’t want anyone of you going through this experience but in case it happens, here is where you can try your luck. One of the things might work for you, though it all seemed useless to me.
Don’t forget to raise a complaint at National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal. At least, you will have a valid report in case the hacker uses your account for hacking others. Though, nobody worked on mine once the case was transferred to Faridabad. The sub-inspector was not ready to hear anything, but kept telling me, ‘Please visit the office and then share all the details.’ In the age of pandemic and when everything was already reported by me, I wonder why was I needed at the office. Anyways, I did not visit them. Had my junior from college not intervened, I would have contacted them again.
Second, do write an email to Instagram. If your account is connected to Facebook, reach out to their team. This authenticates that you are the owner of the account.
Last but not the least, give a shoutout on all social media accounts. Help may come from anywhere.
How did I secure it?
When no help came from anyone, I posted my situation on FACEBOOK and asked for help. A junior from engineering college read my post and messaged me. He works in Facebook and took up my case internally. I owe him a big one. My account is back because of him. Their team monitored my account for more than a week and then took over my account. And one fine day, I was sent a link to login my account. I am glad my patience paid off.
- One side of social media may seem glamorous but the other side is very murky.
- Don’t give your heart and soul to these social media platforms, they don’t give a damn to your hard-work.
- JUST DON’T click on any suspicious link.
- As a social media influencer, it was not a great feeling to lose a well-established account but at the same time, I also realized this can happen any day with other accounts as well, so the best thing is to work on blogs and article for publications.
- Reach out to people on social media. Reach out to Facebook team. DON’T PAY THE HACKER IN PANIC.
- And also, ensure two-factor authentication for all your accounts.
- A lot of friends might make you feel its a big loss, or a tragedy but trust me, nothing happens if these accounts are lost. Yes, you might lose a source of income but again don’t be dependent on one.
- Be patient.