You know that super sick feeling when you messed up, and it's your own fault?
Yeah, that's what being hacked feels like. And let me tell you, those mother f***ers are quick.
Yeah, I'm gonna use a few *** here are there because I wanna keep it a little more classy, but this situation deserves a curse word or two dropped in.
This started on Tuesday, September 24th, not much happening other than an email for a possible collaboration with a company here in San Antonio, which was awesome because I haven't had many collaborations here since I've moved and I really wanted to get into the San Antonio Community more.
It was a gal asking if I'd like to collaborate and to click on the link to see what type of advertising they would like me to do. I clicked on the link, and it took me to Instagram but I wasn't logged in. Instead of logging in, I went to their page on Instagram and looked around. Looked legit, so I kept emailing back and forth.
After a few more emails about me asking her questions, I now see I should have said no thanks and just continued on, because it was obviously a scam. But that's why I'm writing this now, so that someone else doesn't get hacked because of a stupid mistake.
I finally was like okay, I guess I have to click on this instagram link and log in so that I can see what the heck she is talking about. That's where everything went wrong.
I was sitting in the parent pickup line, waiting to pick up Blaire, and I got this random email from Instagram saying there was a new login from a Chrome Book and if this wasn't me, I needed to change my password.
Immediately after that, I got the email that my email had been changed.
I quickly tried to click that it wasn't me and tried to get it back to my email, but the hackers were so fast that I couldn't even change it back in sufficient time.
Then, the ransom emails came in. And yes, I used strong language, so sorry about it, but I'm gonna put the screenshots in here so you can be aware of what happens.
At this point I had given up hope of getting my account back because they said they would only give me 2 hours and I felt that they really would delete my stuff and sell the account to someone else.
I then got an email from another person, still talking. about my hacked account and pretty much still trying to scare me into giving them money for my account. I still didn't know what to do and so I just said screw you dude.
I'd tried to do a lot of things to get my account back. One thing I think Instagram sucks about is that they don't have man power to deal with Facebook and Instagram, so they just hope Instagram will work itself out and sometimes I feel like they are just like "Ehhhh whatever its a social media site." Which is the mindset I guess I need to take from now on and not put all of my eggs in one basket. So I'm going to be writing here a lot more. Anyways, the story continues to two days ago, September. 30th when I thought all hope was lost and my account was long gone, I get yet ANOTHER email from good ole Tagir. This time, trying to get me to pay again.
I hadn't told my San Antonio babes that this had happened because I was ashamed that I was stupid enough to click on a link. But I figured that I needed to warn other people as well. So in our Telegram group, I explained that my account had been hacked and for everyone to please use their authentication measures so that they wouldn't be hacked.
THEN JENNIFER STEPPED IN. Jennifer is the San Antonio Blogger Babes Regional Leader, and guys, without her and a few other ladies I'd be lost. She suggested I get in touch with a lady named Alison, because this had also happened to her. (You can read her story about being hacked here). In her blog, she also names her friend Katie as her saving grace because she had a contact at Facebook that could help.
I shot Alison an email, just hoping she had the answers that I so desperately wanted. I felt like I was running out of time, so I hopped on Instagram and messaged Katie, asking her if she could help me, and that I got her info from Alison's blog. She didn't hesitate to give me the email she had for her contact, and hoped that it would help me. All while emailing FB, I was stringing the hacker along so that they wouldn't delete my stuff.
I wanted proof that they still had my account because the 2 emails I did get from Instagram stated that my account had been deleted so there wasn't anything they could do. I needed proof it was still out there so I could provide proof that it was me, and that they had just deactivated my account. As you can see it was in a different language so I couldn't just type that in to look it up.
Good ole Tagir was getting restless but I was trying to get answers from Instagram. I finally got an email from a girl named Caitlin that said she would help me and that I had sufficient proof that it was my account and that I was in essence being blackmailed/ransomed for my account.
As Caitlin worked her magic, here is the exchange between me and Hacker-boy. As you can see, I tried to negotiate and he agreed. Thats when I knew he wouldn't delete my account.
I got the email from Caitlin that they had successfully gotten my account back and and switched it to the email that I had given her to use. I was ECSTATIC. So you can see I was a little bit (alright a lot) sassy to Hacker-boy Tagir because I wanted to have the last laugh.
As you can see, he wanted ANYTHING he could get from me. If I didn't have the contact from Alison and Katie, I probably would have ended up paying the $79 just to get my account back. But thank heavens I didn't have to.
A few take aways I've learned from this last week of hell--
- SET UP YOUR AUTHENTICATION AND MAKE YOUR PASSWORD CRAZY HARD. Just do it. Actually do it right now.
- Don't click on stupid links. Ask them to send it as an attachment if it's asking you to log in to Instagram.
- Negotiate, they only have power if you let them. And string them along as long as possible.
- Instagram really needs a different contact system. It shouldn't be so hard to get in contact with a real human being.
- Make friends with other people in your industry. If I didn't know Jennifer, I wouldn't have known to contact Alison or Katie.
- Don't center your life around Instagram. Is it a helpful tool? Absolutely. Is it reliable? Absolutely not. This is why I will be writing more blogs and starting that podcast I've been going back and forth on.
Anyways, I hope this helps someone. Helps you open your eyes to what people will do to an account if given the chance.
I think I've learned my lesson so lets hope you don't have to learn it the hard way like I did.
Hope your week is wonderful