It all started when I woke up Monday morning and started getting ready for the gym. I was ready to kick the week off right, but was in for quite the surprise! Before heading out the door I checked my emails real quick and there was one that caught my eye. It was titled ‘HACK!’ and here is what it said:
It seemed so surreal that I immediately thought it was a fraudulent email, but went to check my Instagram just to be sure. Turns out this email was anything but fake. Not only was I unable to login to my account, but when you searched for halfway_wholeistic the account didn’t even exist.
“Jordan, my Instagram account has been hacked and completely deleted.”, I said waking my poor husband out of a deep sleep. Mondays are rough, but today was destined to challenge me beyond the post-weekend blues. Jordan and I immediately started brainstorming ideas of what to do and who we could contact. We had a few people on the case with the hope that we could grab the attention of Instagram or Facebook to have them resolve this issue for us. Huge shoutouts are in order to @redbirdsocialco, @thespoiledhome, @cynthiaharper, @laineandlayne, @aedriel, @thebloomingnest, @ahousewithbooks, @anitayokota, and my sweet mom and all her prayer warriors for all their support in trying to get my account back. To anyone else who posted about my account in their stories, I appreciate you more than you know even if I wasn’t able to see it!
It was late on the first day that I noticed an account named halfway_wholesitic_q1809 had liked some of my friends’ photos. This was a bit of a breakthrough because I knew he hadn’t deleted my account after all, but rather just changed the name and was holding it hostage until we paid.
As we worked to try and resolve this, the hacker managed to send upwards of 50 emails threatening to delete everything if we didn’t pay him immediately. He was asking for $250 in exchange for my Instagram account that he promised to return within 15 minutes of payment. Obviously we had no reason to believe he was being trustworthy about this exchange, but we also figured it was worth losing $250 to see if by chance we could get the account back. I wouldn’t advocate paying a hacker. I felt so bad giving in to his scheme and perpetuating the problem, but the auto replies from Instagram saying there was nothing they could do seemed to leave me with no choice. We stalled for a day to see if we could make any headway in finding a solution, but decided to finally pay him the following day. After constant hounding from the mystery man via email prior to payment, he finally got his money and we haven’t heard from him since.
I felt so incredibly defeated at this point. Not only had the hacker stolen something I had worked so hard for over the past three years, but he also stole my money and kept what was rightfully mine without a care in the world. I started to allow myself to accept that it was most likely gone for good.
From the moment this nightmare began, Romans 8 came to my mind and I found myself quietly reciting it throughout the day. The reality is there are a lot bigger problems in the world than the loss of my Instagram. Perspective is so important. And while I am beyond grateful I was able to regain my account, I’m even more grateful that the thing that is most important to me cannot ever be taken away. Not by a hacker, not by the loss of my Instagram account, and not by the encounter of any hardship I will face. The love of God is truly all we can count on as a constant in this life, and I’m so glad it can never be taken away.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In a world that too often tempts us to put our trust into social media, wealth, fame, and success… don’t forget to ground yourself in faith.
Late on the night of the second day, we had an idea to call one of Jordan’s childhood friends who we thought might know someone with a connection to Facebook or Instagram. It was a long shot to say the least, but we knew finding someone with a connection to one of those companies was really our only hope of getting someone on the case. We forwarded the whole saga of a story to our friend Corey, who passed it along to his friend that works at Facebook. By the end of day 3, they had the entire issue resolved and my account was back up and running.
WOW. so incredibly thankful for these diligent Facebook employees who cared enough to take on my case. I’m even more grateful to be back in contact with all of you, my sweet friends! It’s truly one of the joys of my life to be able to create and connect with other like-minded people here at Halfway Wholeistic.
Tips for Staying Safe:
- Turn on two factor authentication in your Instagram settings. This will require you to use a code sent to your phone any time a new sign-in takes place. I did not have this turned on prior to getting hacked.
- Change your sign-in email to one that is not used for anything else. I don’t know for sure how the hacker got into my account, but I do know it is fairly easy to do without the two-factor authentication turned on and if the email you use to login is listed in your account. I have now changed my Instagram login email to a brand new email account that can’t be found anywhere else and will not be used for any other purpose but to login to Instagram.
- Create a difficult password and change it monthly.
- Don’t ever respond to emails asking for account info!
- Sign up for Facebook Business Manager if you run your Instagram account as a business profile.
What To Do If Your Instagram Account Gets Hacked:
There’s no great solution for getting your account back. I know many people that got theirs back after months of persistently reporting it to Instagram, and others that never did. Really the only thing you can do is report it daily, have others report it for you, and try and find a direct contact of someone who works at Facebook or Instagram that can resolve it for you. I truly hope they come up with a better solution soon!
I felt so powerless when I lost my Instagram account because I had no real way to reach all my sweet followers and friends. It made me realize the importance of having everyone signed up through my blog in case something ever does happen again!
CLICK HERE to enter your email and make sure you’re on the list so I have a way to communicate with all of you in the future if need be!
Thanks again for being here. For following along and supporting my blog. For showing up to say that you care when things don’t go as planned. It all goes to show that social media goes well beyond pretty pictures as it allows us to connect and share life with people we may not have otherwise met. Thankful for each and every one of you!