Is your Instagram account safe and secure? No! It can easily be stolen.
Let me tell you how the official Instagram account of Disabled Magazine was stolen. And, how IG doesn’t care about us, our accounts or who is using our photos and data right now.
I had applied for IG verification status (the little blue checkmarks you see on accounts which indicate the account is verified and are who they say they are). On Friday, April 9th I made the mistake of clicking on a link that appeared to be approval of my IG verification status. Instead it was a link a hacker sent to steal my Instagram accounts. A few hours later I realized I could not access my accounts and quickly followed the steps to recover them. I was not able to recover them because the hacker had changed the emails. I have notified IG Support that I did not change the emails and have sent follow-up emails, but still have not received any response back from them. I also attempted to contact IG in oher ways, i.e. posts and tags, but received no response.
In the meantime, the hacker (who is apparently from Russia) was able to retrieve my phone number from my IG application information and then contact me on WhatsApp to request money to return my accounts to me. Luckily I did not have my bank account or credit card information listed in my IG settings for promotions. Can you imagine if I had? The thief and I bargained until we reached a price of $300. I wasn’t planning to pay anything but was buying some time while waiting to hear back from IG Support – but I never did.
A few days later I received an IG direct message from a man who said he would help me recover my account for $85. It sounded tempting, but he provided no guarantee and would not help me recover my account unless I paid the $85 up front. I was concerned that he might also be a scammer.
Instagram still has done nothing. I have contacted friends and asked them to also report my stolen accounts. I have reported the photos on my stolen accounts and received IG auto-notifications stating the photos posted do not break their community rules. I emailed copyright infringement and identity theft forms, but only received automated replies.
My last attempt is with this post. Please share it widely so that I may still be able to recover my two IG accounts that I have worked so hard on the past three years. I hope that IG will hear us, not just so that I can recover my stolen accounts, but also for tighter security on all of our IG accounts.
Thank you for taking two minutes of your time to report my stolen accounts to IG:
And, if you’ve had a similar situation happen to you and found a solution to recover your accounts, please leave me a comment below. Thank you so much for your help.