August 01, 2018


Yep, it has or is happening to almost everyone. The 20th of July I received an email with a subject of  'HACK  !'

I had just finished my to-do list for the week and was ready to enjoy my weekend. I had just booked two months worth of campaigns, found a new church to attend, and tracked down a potential daycare for Landon. I was about 10 minutes away from home when I glanced at my phone and saw a notification from gmail.  I immediately (AND SAFELY) pulled over and instantly panicked. 

I reached out to my partner (who assists me with my emails and social media platforms) and asked her for help until I could get home and get on my desktop. By the time I got home my email address that was linked to Instagram had already been changed and no one could see my Instagram profile. The hackers had seen that I was at my desktop and sent another email threatening one more hour before they deleted my account. 

What was I feeling? 

I kept trying to take deep breaths to keep myself from puking. My entire body was trembling. I wasn't sure if I was scared, angry, confused, heartbroken, or all of the above. I had no idea how this could have happened. I replied back eventually and asked what they wanted from me. Money, of course ($500 to be exact). I asked my sisters if they could come by after work so I had more heads to help get me out of this. Three hours after getting the email, I had already contacted Instagram &  Facebook. I even tried to tweet them! 

How did they do it?

It was a phishing link. The day before, I had received an email regarding a collaboration with a legit company and they wanted my rates. This is the usual lingo I get these days, I hardly get requests for my media kit. I sent them my rates and they responded back asking me to click a link and wanted to make sure I understood  their aesthetic. Yes, I thought it was weird but their English wasn't great and most overseas brands I have worked with in the past were hard to understand, yet were legit. I clicked the link and it only took me back to Instagram to log-in again in order to view their Instagram page. This is when they got me! This link sent me to a mock-up Instagram page with a website of Indagrum.com or something like that. I did not realize this until I had to reflect my steps later that day in order to understand how this happened. They were able to view my log-in info on their screen. After I clicked it, I immediately got distracted with Landon and left the house. It was not until an hour later I finally checked my phone and saw 'HACKED !' 


I finally focused my energy on Landon and left my phone and computer. The next morning they were still harassing me and exclaiming that my account would be deleted within an hour. Mind you, they told me that same thing just 24hrs the day before, so I ignored it until I decided what I wanted to do about it. I had already cancelled a photoshoot that morning and had a huge event to go to that evening. Let's cut to the chase....


After hearing how many girls who had been hacked, paid, and gotten their account back right away...I decided to pay. Now, I was worried because I did not pay them right away like the others did. In fact, I said some horrible things to them that God HIMSELF should wash my mouth with soap. My sister came home on her lunch break (she pretty much had the same level of anxiety for me since she truly understood what it might be like to go through this). She helped me balance Landon and begin the transaction. One thing you should know is this person wanted $500 originally, I kept telling them "I'll pay you the $400 later, then the next day $300, then by Monday I said "Okay $100 will be sent in 10 minutes!" They responded with "GOOD!" I paid and felt at ease because I knew I did everything I could do and there would be no ifs or buts about it. 


I heard nothing back and while the other girls said it took hours....no one said it took a whole day. I knew right away I had upset them and they got some money and had already forgotten about me. I created a fake account with my screen name days before so they couldn't take my original IG handle away from me and I was spreading the word like crazy to stop others from being attacked. I felt like I was doing something more than just paying them and staying quiet and scared. This personally helped me feel better about the situation everyday. 


I had looked at my stories that morning and had over 3k views, while I only had 200 followers on my new account. I still felt good about myself because I felt like it was us against these hackers who were trying to destroy the hard work of others. I felt it was a community over competition thing, it was amazing how everyone was trying to help everyone. This day was when things started to happen for the good! Someone I knew (through someone else) had a contact at Instagram. That Instagram contact got in touch with me right away no questions asked except extending help. The next day another girl whom I helped earlier this year (you'll see us published in a certain bridal magazine later this year) had contacted a friend of hers. Again, this friend contacted me with to the point questions so she could help me get my Instagram back. She may have seen my screen name once before, but still had no idea who I was, yet, she contacted her top of the tier Facebook contact through the kindness of her heart. And then.....that top tier contact put in a VIP ticket for my account. I just COULD NOT get passed how how many people were trying to help me....and there was nothing I could do except say thank you and follow them...??!!
They just wanted to offer support, that's it. They wanted me to have my account back.


I woke up in peace and finally felt anxiety free. I had spa collaboration to do and focused on getting ready for that while watching morning cartoons with Landon. Then as usual, when I least expected it, I got an email from the hacker with my log-in info. I can't say how it all went down (LBH Facebook wasn't going to tell me either lol) but just know Facebook only needed my username and original email in order to find the hackers. They scared the hackers straight and had them deliver my info back. The hackers kept telling me "Only we can restore your account" and I knew they were just trying to scare me even more. 

End of story

One of the things I told everyone and the hackers was that they messed with the wrong influencer. I knew I could talk them down in money,  I knew I would not let this go, and I knew I would track them down somehow. Well, I didn't but Facebook did and handed their info to their legal department. While I understand these hackers may not be phased by this and my situation will not stop this from happening....I at least did something to handle my personal situation. Facebook and Instagram are aware of what is happening but with the amount of cases happening with everyone else in this over saturated world, you have to know someone who knows someone to get your voice heard. What I took from this was not only learning more about hacking, stepping up my security, but always remembering why I have never put my all in Instagram. I have always tried to write blog posts, tweet, pin on Pinterest, because at some point those platforms were the big thing before Instagram came about. It is only a matter of time before a new platform or the next biggest thing comes along, so don't forget the power of your other platforms. I call it social media insurance.

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