03 / 09 / 18
I was crying my eyes out. It might sound silly to some, but I‘ve been building a community of amazing human souls through my Instagram for the last 5 years - very slowly but very proudly. I called it my online home.
Those that have followed me for a while would know that I've had a tough few months; going through heartbreak, moving home and also adjusting to being self-employed - which includes Instagram as one of my main sources of income.
After lots of tears, I decided that I couldn’t physically do or think of anything else except writing this all down, whether I get my account back or not (keep reading - I do get it back!) - I hope this helps someone else.
As you can imagine by now, I've read tons of blog posts and Youtube videos, and one thing that frustrated me the most was long-ass intros about it all! So let me get straight to the point, and I'll have a bit more of a detailed story for you at the end.
1. Odd email with a link that looks like it's an Instagram account link:
I must say I never ever open odd links, but this time around I genuinely thought to check this Instagram page and I believed this was it. I have hidden the names just in case it wasn't (as I guess I will never know) but I feel very strongly that this was the email, as minutes after the next steps began.
2. Example screenshot of the first sign of being hacked on my account -
The hacker logged me out and started to change all of my personal details including my username.
- 3.. Example of an email I received - which is the most important one. I believe if I was quick enough (I was 5 mins late) I might have been able to use the 'revert this change' to avoid this, however, I didn't get the chance and once I did the hacker has already changed all my details on my account including the email, phone number and username.
4. An email from the Hacker: Around 15 mins into a panic I receive an email from the hacker basically asking for money in return.
At this point I run to do the following which I suggest you do straight away:
5. Go to Instagram Help Centre and follow steps for 'My Account Has Been Hacked' I'll list it below for you. This will allow you to fill in a form to submit to Instagram.
If you can't access your account, you may be able to get additional help through the Instagram app:
1.) Open the Instagram app on your mobile device
2.) On the login screen, tap Get Help Signing In below ‘Log In’
3.) For more options:
1.) Tap Use Username or Email, then enter your username or email. Learn more about what you can do if you don't know your username.
2.) Tap -> in the top right.
3.) Tap ‘Need More Help?’ then follow the on-screen instructions. Note: If you think your username or email was changed as a result of your account being hacked, you can try these steps again using both your username and email.
1.) Enter your username or email. Learn more about what you can do if you don't know your username.
2.) Tap Need more help? below Send Login Link, then follow the on-screen instructions. Note: If you think your username or email was changed as a result of your account being hacked, you can try these steps again using both your username and email
6. You will receive an automated message from Facebook that looks like the above screenshot once you have completed the form. This is where, as much as I hate to say it, you have to wait.
From reading previous blogs and watching Youtube videos they state that this is where they get back in touch with you within a few days and ask for another email with proof of your face holding up a piece of paper with a code they provide. I've heard 50/50 responses with some people gaining access to their accounts and unfortunately, some never get it back.
Another helpful video explaining all of the above for me was this one here.
These hackers clearly planned this very well as it was on Labor Day in the USA - which means a lot of people were off and not in their offices, hence why they did the hack as everyone is taking longer to reply than usual.
The Hackers will try to get money off you, DO NOT PAY - they threatened me with numerous of emails that they will delete my account - I repeat, do not pay. They asked to be paid via Bitcoin, and do not accept Paypal or bank transfers as that way they can be tracked.
06 / 09 / 18
HOW I GOT MY ACCOUNT BACK
After three long days, five forms to Instagram Help and three personal emails to people at Instagram, I finally made progress.
I was sending them proof of screenshots, paragraphs explaining my situation, and quite a long email, so the Instagram system wasn't understanding me. My advice would be, as hard as it might seem, just reply with the 3 answers they want from you to avoid getting lost in their system. They ask for the email you signed up with originally, the phone number and the device you signed up with. Here's where I also went wrong replying with 'iPhone 7 plus' thinking they meant the phone device I am using right now. Out of my panic, I didn't realise I answered that one incorrectly, which only prolonged me to another automated message for another day.
Finally, I heard back from a person at Instagram - an actual human! This is where I had hope that things might be OK and something might be able to be done about this.
They asked me to create a totally new email that has never been associated with Instagram before and again what details I originally signed up with. I also had my name 'justskai' secured again as a blank account, so they must have seen that on the system and I guess I helped them with that one - they got into the hackers username (which was the username in the second screenshot that logged me out) and transferred my account back to JUSTSKAI.
Thankfully, the hacker didn't sell or delete any of my posts and simply changed the username and deactivated the account hence why I couldn't find anything, even when I searched via recent hashtags and tagged photos.
Here’s my advice if you find yourself in my situation:
Try to search the last hashtags you used, can you see your profile, but in another name?
Take a screenshot, track this. (If the hacker is trying to sell your account or has already sold it, you will be able to find your posts that way before / if they delete your posts)
Tweet and Instagram story tagging @instagram in the hope they might see this sooner (this may raise awareness, however, didn't work for me)
Keep track of all accounts they're changing your username to if you can
Ask friends to search you via tagged and saved photos
If you have anyone you know that works at Instagram and Facebook get in touch with them to fasten the process. (Ask bloggers, or Youtubers to help)
Secure Your Account
- Make sure you change your passwords regularly
- Do not open odd links
- Set your Two-factor Authentication to on
- Make sure the email you signed up with is different to one stated in your Instagram bio to make it harder to hack (even though mine were two different emails and this still happened)
- I've also heard that logging into random free WIFI's can add your information that way
- Be careful with what details you're adding
Overall I am so thankful I managed to get this sorted and none of my content has been deleted.
I hope that I can raise awareness of my situation, and for Instagram to create a separate Influencer Help where those of us who practically work at Instagram can get help quickly when situations as such occur.
Love, Skai x
Article originally published on scentofblanc.com
Image by @justskai