PSA: Fraudulent Collaborations & Instagram hackers

What a world we live in, where getting your Instagram hacked is just as serious as getting your bank account hacked. I wish I didn’t have to write posts like this, but there is a huge Instagram hacking crisis upon us. I’m sure you’ve heard a horror story or two, we’ve heard hundreds.

You might be wondering why someone would bother hacking? It’s not an enemy, or a game or something far out of your worry, it’s a business. Instagram hackers get into an account, wipe all of the content and then sell the profile at top dollar.

Just think, how much time and money you’ve put into perfecting those stats actually makes you a high risk target. They aren’t targeting spammy accounts, they want ones with solid audiences so they can make money and they don’t discriminate by following. A good audience, is a good audience.

Now that I’ve scared you, let’s talk about steps you can take.

At first, we used to hear about Influencers getting hacked that didn’t have Two Factor Authentication turned on. Not to be mean, but I used to have zero sympathy for influencers that couldn’t take the time to turn on a basic security measure to protect something they’ve poured their blood sweat and tears into. It’s like leaving the door unlocked every time you leave the house and being surprised after getting robbed. Way harsh, but true!

If you don’t have Two Factor Authentication enabled, DO IT NOW BEFORE FINISHING THIS POST. Login to your Insta, head over to the Privacy and Security settings and turn it on. Every time there is an account login you will be sent a verification code to confirm your identity.

Now, we’re freaking out a little because we’ve heard multiple cases of accounts getting hacked that had Two Factor Authentication turned on. I guess hackers had to get creative? It beats me how this can happen but we have facial recognition on cell phones so I suppose anything is possible in the tech world!

There is a second security measure you can take by downloading the Authentication App, Duo Mobile, which you’ll be prompted to download when you turn this feature on. Instagram and Duo Mobile will take you through a series of steps to complete the process. This is also located in the Privacy and Security settings.

I want to share a little story about what happened to one of our community members, Sarah - @scinatx. She encountered a unique situation that could happen to anyone of us.

Sarah was contacted by what seemed like reputable collaborator. She said the email and everything seemed legitimate. (When I think back to a few collaborations that I accepted without doing research, I cringe at the type of info I released without thinking twice. I mean, beyond that, how many people I’ve sent my home shipping info to for products.)

Long story short she was catfished under the guise of a collaboration and, shortly after, found her account completely cleared out. In fact, since then, she’s been contacted about buying existing accounts. Imagine, the hacker is trying to sell you back your own account!!!

If you want to help a sister out, check out Sarah’s feed @scinatx and give her some love! Support in the form of a follow, like or comment can move mountains while she is rebuilding her business.

The type of information that needs to be released to get products shipped and get paid is probably enough to seriously put anyone at risk for more than just Instagram hacking. So please, proceed with caution. I wish this wasn’t the world we live in, but it is. Protect yourselves and, more importantly, do research before giving out personal info.

It would be smart to get a PO box or give an office address for shipping. As for payments, secured methods are always ideal.

I have a very strong belief that influencers put too heavy of an emphasis on Instagram. Putting all your eggs in one basket rarely ends well. It’s a risk in general to have your business solely rely on something you can’t control and don’t own. If Instagram is gone tomorrow, whether its because they shut down or you get hacked, make sure your business can survive without it. With that being said, it is the most lucrative way influencers have been able to reach their audience and make a living, so be sure to protect it with your life and do the same for your personal protection.

BTW - if you’re interested in learning more about ways to secure your business and develop a sustainable audience outside of Instagram, we’ve got tons of advice! Email