"if your account was deleted by you or someone with your password, there's no way to restore it. You can create a new account with the same email address you used before, but you may not be able to get the same username".
It is now back to normal and access to our precious Instagram profile of Still Miracle Wedding Photography has been restored! We hope our horrible experience with the hacking attempt and this blog publication with more details and tips will help others to prevent loss of the access to their Instagram account hacked. Please feel free to share this post with your followers and colleagues as this might happen to anyone.
Instagram Account Hacked: How To React
It has been the most stressful Sunday morning I could ever imagine. It started at 10.10 am on 10 May 2020 with the notification on Still_Miracle’s account “User not found” when I tried to access it from my iPhone.
I realised that something was wrong with my account and immediately checked emails. I discovered 3 email notifications informing that within 1 minute my instagram account name was changed, e-mail and phone number were removed. As a wedding photographer I was so shocked and couldn’t believe that years of efforts, hundreds of posts, wedding photographs (I am so proud of) could be lost just within a couple of minutes.
I pulled myself together and submitted a report to Instagram support team who replied at 10.20am with the following message:
“The account you’re referring to has been removed. We’re unable to restore accounts that have been permanently deleted. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes.
Thanks, The Instagram Team”
In the meantime, I received an email from unknown sender anyhirl92 @gmail.com informing that my account was hacked:
“It’s perfectly safe and we haven’t touched it. We are waiting for your reply 2 hours! If you do not respond, we will start to clear your account (delete photos) and sell your account! We are waiting for your reply!”
The hackers demanded USD275 for restoring my access to the Instagram account hacked and threatened to delete the account within 2 hours if this request is not satisfied. However, I didn’t have any assurances that this will be done even if I pay the full amount. So I decided to exchange emails with the hackers asking for more details about the process of recovery and asked them to prove that my account was still safe. I also started discussing the payment options with them. All this just to win some time before the Instagram support team responds and react reacts.
I kept sending messages to the Instagram support team with more details from my conversation with the hackers, including print screens of their emails and requests. One of the hacker’s messages was the following:
“Our interest is only in money. We don’t need your account. We will restore it immediately after payment in 15 minutes. We will send you a login, password and instructions on how to protect your account.”
I kept communicating with the hackers and insisted that they prove Still Miracle Photography account and all wedding photographs still exist and can be restored. They sent me a screenshot of the profile which appeared with Russian texts in the header and I realised that the hackers were from Russia. I switched the topic of the discussion on whether the payment can be made to the Russian bank and they provided a details of the Russian banking card with a card number, full name and phone number of the recipient. Since, the attack happened on Sunday it was not possible to make an immediate transfer and I explained this to the hackers. Then they started insisting on the payment in bitcoins via brd.com
While I was discussing various details with the hackers in brief messages via e-mail, time worked in our favour. That was the most stressful 2 hours while awaiting for the Instagram team to respond.
It was even more terrifying to find out that according to the Instagram’s policy that “if your account was deleted by you or someone with your password, there’s no way to restore it. You can create a new account with the same email address you used before, but you may not be able to get the same username”.