Let’s skip the pleasantries as it felt like death and I’m still discombobulated. I remember when people use to say “being famous on Instagram, is like having monopoly money”. Well, we all know that saying has been debunked as some of us and myself included does it full time. When I first started blogging full time, I used to be so embarrassed to say “I’m an influencer”. It took me a while and a lot of soul searching to get to the point where I’m comfortable in my own skin to get to the point I’m proud of my job. Because there is a lot to be proud of. You don’t get to work and sacrifice as much as I have and not be proud.
I think what people do not realize is that bloggers put hours and hours into each blog post and IG post. We pay photographers to take the photos, we pay social media assistants to help amplify the posts, and we work hard to integrate sponsorships into our usual content in a way that is authentic and natural. In fact, it costs me so much money…and time.
I have sacrificed so much to get to where I am at, so to watch my pictures deleted one by one and my account sold 2 days after hitting 100k literally felt like death. I sat on my floor for 4 days and cried and cried and cried. Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t have customer service or even a form to fill out for help. After having a heart attack and going to the hospital. I came back home and thought to myself, I’ve fought my whole life and I just have to fight even harder. So, here are the few things I learned during this past week:
. Persistence works! My lovely hacker actually removed my Facebook, email, phone number and everything in between. After a mini-heart attack and a hospital visit. I started emailing everyone. Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t have emails or forms, so we were just grasping at any email we could think of. Eventually, I started googling articles. I read every single article on google. From page 1-page 10. Refreshed and started over. Eventually, I ran into an article from a guy who lost his account at 300k and after a month of trying to get it back, he eventually went on Linkedin and typed in “Instagram” and started emailing every single one of their employees. This might sound insane and dramatic but “squeaky wheel gets the grease”.
.Determination is your best friend. When everyone was telling me “you’ll get over it”, “you can start over”. I refused to start over. I called my Mother crying & screaming and she said: “You are a fighter, you don’t just give up, you get in your car and drive to their headquarters”. I not only wrote everyone on Linkedin. I also collected all their employee names including interns and wrote long and obnoxious paragraphs under all their pictures. Do now, apologize later.
.Two-factor authentication does not work. As a matter of fact, that’s how I got hacked. It’s called a hack because these people are brilliant and they are unfortunately smarter than you are. However, there are other ways to reduce your chances of getting hacked. use a very long and complicated password. Do the code backup option on your settings. I kept 5 different codes. So, it; ll literally take James Bond to break into my account again.
.Have a balanced life. As you all know, in everything that happens to me in life, I always seek the lesson in it. The lesson for me is that I really need to slow down. I’m such a workaholic and, truly I am addicted to working. I was pushing out content when I was hospitalized for exhaustion and dehydration. I don’t believe in rest or breaks. I’ve always said, “I can sleep when I die”. However, with the new success of the blog, it got worse. All I do is work. I don’t date, don’t go out, don’t have any hobbies. When I had my mini heart attack at 29 and the doctors told my friends to take me to go do my favorite activities. Both my friends (photographers) looked at the doctor and said: “she doesn’t have hobbies, her only hobby is working”. In that moment, I thought “Oh crap! If I make it out of this alive, I need to try to date and meet new friends and eventually maybe start dating again. (This makes me sound so pathetic).
.Be vigilant! Exercise caution if you encounter any suspicious activity such as unrecognized incoming calls, texts, and emails. In many cases of Instagram that was hacked this weekend, it was simply because of an email “phishing” that looks very real but the I is swapped for an L. Unfortunately, it’s easy to miss when they are all in small letters. So, open the email address and ask the second eye to help you look closely.
Thank you to the team at Instagram for working diligently to get my account and username back.
I won’t wish this on my worst enemy. Hope this article helps! Thank you to everyone who reached out and fought with me to get my account back. To all the brands who stayed patient through it all, thank you. My deepest gratitude. Have a blessed evening.