HACKER WARNING

You might have seen on my Insta that a couple of weeks ago I was hacked. #embarrassing

 

It happened just before the bank holiday weekend while I was looking forward to enjoying the last bit of summer and a child free weekend canal cruising. The timing couldn’t have been worse. If you’ve ever been on a narrow boat you’ll know that getting a signal in the middle of the waterways is unpredictable to say the least and charging your phone… well at least we had a solar powered charger (yes there was sunshine on the BHW!) and pub landlords are very obliging too (of course we had to show our appreciation by sampling the local beer/wine).

 

Anyway trying to retrieve your accounts is not a simple task. Wouldn’t it be nice to speak to a human to sort out the problem? I have found out no real people actually work for Instagram. It is run 100% by automated systems… and hackers!

 

After completing multiple video selfies to prove that I am me (one of them actually was declined! I think I was so peeved off my angry face did not match up to my usual happy smiley Insta face!) I finally started to make some progress. At least I thought I was.

 

Then I receive emails from Instagram (the hackers!) saying they could see I was trying to access my account and they were going to help me. The hacker clues here are easier to spot than before.

 

Clue No 1: The email comes from a gmail account!

Clue No 2: There are spelling mistakes and grammar errors throughout the email

Clue No 3: If you respond to the email you’ll soon notice the blunt and unprofessional reply you receive.

 

So I wasn’t so stupid as to follow their instructions… although I can see people falling for this. If you don’t take a moment to read the email and you’re just relieved that Instagram have got in touch and you can finally get this horrid drama over with.

 

Now let’s rewind a little and go back to where it all went wrong in the first place.

 

I received a DM on Insta from someone I know, asking if I’d received these weird text messages from Facebook… I replied ‘nope’ then…. That same day I receive 10 or so of these messages.

The hacker on Insta (obvs now I know!) said to screenshot the messages as they are reporting them to Instagram as they are being sent to their contacts & that reporting it will stop the hacker.

They were the bloody hacker!

I did hesitate & question it, but then thought what can sharing a screenshot do?! You can’t click on any link! So I shared a screenshot #BigMistake

Within a minute they’d hacked my account, changed security details, my date of birth, my account type and category etc.

 

We’ve all heard 7 million times ‘Don’t click on anything’. I didn’t. I still got burnt.

 

They proceeded to post on my grid & stories with ridiculous stories about me buying a white Mercedes! Btw if I was a millionaire I certainly wouldn’t be buying a white Mercedes! Also claims about earning from bitcoin & other absurd sh**.

So… moral of the story is DON’T SHARE SCREENSHOTS!!

Just because you receive a message from someone you know… DON’T ASSUME IT’S THAT PERSON MESSAGING YOU!

BE SUSPICIOUS OF EVERYTHING!

Do you know what the worst thing is? They messaged 100’s of my friends and contacts with the same message I fell for and a number of them also did what I did and the hackers took control of their account. My error has lead to stress and hassle for more people. 

 

Just when I thought it was over…They’ve now set up multiple accounts claiming it’s my new page. IT’S NOT.

If you’re in any doubt about any message you receive anywhere, contact that person directly via a different platform. Don’t be embarrassed to check. Then block and report the fake accounts.

And most importantly…go & do something nice NOT on social media! Because it really is a big big headache!

 

As a small business, this experience has taught me how vulnerable my business is on social media. I’ve always believed a combination of marketing methods, not just social media is a wise move and I suggest you do the same too.

My top tips to round off:

  1. Don’t click, reply, action or do anything requested of you via a message on social media that you’re not expecting.

  2. Check the sender of any emails you receive claiming to be Instagram/Facebook etc (I received a number of emails from a gmail account)

  3. Have different passwords for everything and change them every 6 months (I use a neat app called Lastpass that stores all my passwords)

  4. Use 2 factor authentication to secure your Instagram account

  5. Do not follow ‘new accounts’ that follow you, check whether they are genuine first

  6. Unfollow, ignore, block and report suspicious accounts.

Stay safe out there! Don’t get hacked!

I’m passionate about empowering women to have a voice, have their story heard and follow their dreams in life & business. My mission is to offer innovative, extraordinary & inspiring networking opportunities for female lead businesses.

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