Tuesday, January 4, 2022
It started out like any other day. I was up early, getting ready for work, and still running late. But I made it to work right on time. Our staff meeting was canceled due to so many teachers being out of the building (panoramic teaching), so I set up my room for the day’s lessons.
This was our second day back from winter break, so on Monday, I made sure to spend time reviewing norms, expectations, and reconnecting with my scholars. They loved the New Year’s Goals in GIFS and PICS PowerPoint Project they worked on after they completed their Do Now (Math Spiral Review). To my surprise, Tuesday was a breeze, and they were ready to dig back into our work with fractions.
At some point in the morning, I received a message in my Instagram DMs (Direct Messages) from someone who I thought was my younger cousin, A. He asked for my number and explained why, and I sent him my number. No questions asked. That was my first problem. I gave my phone number to someone who I thought I knew without asking any questions.
I am going to tell you this now, NEVER GIVE ANYONE YOUR PHONE NUMBER WITHOUT CONFIRMING WHO THEY ARE FIRST! Also, if you have already given them your number, why would they ask you again without first saying that they lost your number?
Y’all! I didn’t ask a single question! I wondered, but I never asked why he didn’t ask his mom for my number. I didn’t ask what happened to his Facebook account which is why he needed my number. I didn’t ask why he was asking me and not someone else closer to him. I didn’t even ask if he asked anyone else. I didn’t ask him any questions until right before the damage was done, and it was too late. I responded with my cell phone number. That’s it. I was focused on work.
At this point in time, everything was fine on my end. I was still able to access my Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Later on in the day, “my cousin” reminded me to send him a link that showed up on Facebook so he could get back into his Facebook account. I don’t get on Facebook that often. As a matter of fact, I don’t even have the app on my phone, therefore it took several hours before I logged into my Facebook account to copy and paste that link into my DMs for him. He responded later asking if I had a chance to get the link yet.
I am going to tell you this now, NEVER SEND AN UNKNOWN LINK THROUGH YOUR DMS! NEVER! Especially if you have not verified (via text, phone call, video call, or another person) who you are talking to. Most likely the person you think you are talking to has already had their account hacked. I learned about 15 minutes after my account was hacked that my younger cousin’s account was hacked earlier in the same day. Had I reached out to his mom, I would’ve known that.
Once I got home, I sat down to help my son with his homework, I copied and pasted the link in the DMs, and asked if it worked. He said, “Yes, and thank you.” At this point in time, I started asking how he was doing and how college tours were going. He said, “Good.” I told him I was proud of him and that he is going to do great in college, and I ended by saying I loved him. I was slightly annoyed by his short responses and thought he was being rude, but he’s a teenage boy, we don’t talk that often, and I actually didn’t have time to talk or text at length. I thought about texting his mom later to see if he was okay. He is one of the sweetest boys I know. I should’ve known it wasn’t him. I ignored all of the red flags!
Right before I copied and pasted the link in my DMs, to who I thought was my younger cousin, A, I posted in my stories. I was about to work out and I shared that in my stories. But I had a limited amount of time before I had to be at my next destination. After I finished my workout, I planned to add a post-workout photo to my stories. I took the selfie. Clicked the Instagram application, and it said I was logged out of my account. I never log out of my account. So I simply typed in my username and password. It said the password was wrong and my email address had been changed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I panicked. I knew what happened. Someone took advantage of me hacked my Instagram and Facebook accounts.
I was able to get my Facebook account back within 24 hours by uploading my ID to the site and filling out some reports, requesting password resets. I had to try multiple times, and at one point, Facebook told me I was doing too much and wouldn’t let me upload my ID anymore. Now that I am in, I can even see posts from my Instagram account via my Facebook Business page. BUT I STILL CANNOT LOG INTO INSTAGRAM!
Immediately after the hacking, I started getting text messages from people that had my number asking me if I changed my IG Handle to @the_renewed_teachuu. Of course, I didn’t. The hacker went in, changed my login, my password, the phone numbers linked to my account, and they even added two-factor authentication to my account which I had not even done yet!
I am going to tell you this now, if you haven’t done so yet, ADD TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION TO ALL OF YOUR ACCOUNTS! ASAP! Two factor-authentication is an electronic authentication method that allows you to better protect your online accounts only granting access to a website or application after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence beyond your login and password.
My hacked account has since been changed back to @the_renewed_teacher but I still do not have access as mentioned above. The person that has control is using my name and sharing screenshots of DMS in the stories that look like I made tons of money. I mean I wish I had the money, but this is not my money y’all!
I have asked Instagram for help, written them emails, done video facial recognition. I can still see my cell phone number linked to the account, I can still receive text messages and emails at my number and email address from Instagram to put in codes to unlock my account, but I do not have the 6-digit number for the two-factor authentication. I went back to my screenshots from 2018 when I first sign up for Instagram to see if I had a screenshot of the 6-digit code and I don’t.
When I started writing this post on Wednesday, January 12th, I wished I had a happy ending. I hoped and prayed to get my account back.
As of Sunday, January 16 at 12:29 am, The Instagram Team came through! I NOW HAVE CONTROL OF @the_renewed_teacher!!!
You can’t hold a good woman back or keep a good woman down!
I have shared three tips on how you can prevent your account from being hacked:
- NEVER GIVE ANYONE YOUR PHONE NUMBER WITHOUT CONFIRMING WHO THEY ARE FIRST!
- NEVER SEND AN UNKNOWN LINK THROUGH YOUR DMS! NEVER!
- ADD TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION TO ALL OF YOUR ACCOUNTS! ASAP!
In my next blog post, I will share what I did to get my account back in case the preventative tips above do not work.
Stay tuned for updates and more ways to renew your passion for teaching in the coming weeks!
You can’t keep a good woman down!
Krystal L. Smith, The RenewED Teacher