Last night (May 6th) at around 8:30 PM, the Iconic Alternatives Instagram account was hacked and I was locked out. So, a few things about this.
First, please do NOT respond or reply to any Instagram Private Messages from the Iconic Alternatives Instagram account. And definitely do NOT click on any links sent to you from that Instagram account! Making sure you fine folks are aware of what’s going on and protecting yourselves and your accounts is my first priority.
Second, being hacked was my own fault. I was in a rush last night (going to a friend’s birthday party). I received a Private Message from an account I thought I knew well that included a link. I tapped on the link. And about an hour later when I checked my phone again I had emails from Instagram informing me that my password had been changed, my email had been removed, etc. etc. And I was locked out.
I’ve run this website and the associated social media accounts for almost seven years now. And I have always been hyper aware of the digital threats that are out there. Except last night, when I was in a rush, not really paying attention and messed up. It was a stupid, stupid thing to do. I should have checked the account the message originated from more carefully. I should have checked the link they sent more carefully. But I didn’t and now I’m dealing with this mess.
So what am I doing about this? All the stuff you’re supposed to do. I was able to act within an hour of finding out about the hack and contacted Instagram/Meta. I filled out all the forms. I changed the passwords for my emails, other social media accounts and this website. Luckily, after 7 years, I have a pretty substantial pile of evidence proving I own the Instagram account. So my hope is I can get it back relatively quickly.
But I think attitude is also very important at a time like this. Yeah, I’m angy. But that’s mainly directed at myself for making such an amateur mistake. However, I also want to focus on the positive that comes from something like this. It was a wake-up call for me and hopefully a reminder for all of you that we have to say vigilant.
My son is also now old enough to start playing around on social media. So I’ll be using this as an opportunity to teach him about why it’s so important to be consistently mindful of his online identity and the ways he can protect himself. Sharing the lessons I’m learning the hard way so that he can stay safe.
I’m going to wait a couple of days to try and resolve this with Instagram/Meta. In the meantime I would greatly appreciate it if those of you who are willing could share the message that my account was hacked with our great community. Again, I don’t want anyone else’s accounts to be jeopardized because of this and I want to warn people that the Iconic Alternatives Instagram account is no longer under my control and cannot be trusted.
And if I can’t get the original account back, I’ll open a new one and start over. I have no doubt we’ll all find each other again and talking and sharing with all of you is the best part of Instagram!
Thank you all for your support! Enjoy your weekend everyone, and stay safe!