Notts entrepreneur pleads with social media giant after falling victim to hacker

Rebecca Gibbions

A Nottinghamshire entrepreneur is pleading with a social media giant to unlock her account after she was hacked – or she will face losing 50% of her revenue.

Rebecca Gibbions, who runs the Last Night I Dreamt jewellery boutique in Southwell, has been locked out of her Instagram account since she was hacked last Sunday (February 21).

Gibbions, who set up her business in 2015, said: “On Sunday evening, my account was hacked by an unknown source masquerading as Instagram. They very quickly added two-factor authentication and, after that, I received an email blackmailing me if I wanted to get my account back.

“I escalated this to the UK Cyber Fraud police team who contacted Facebook/Instagram directly on my behalf as I have no access to my account. However, the police have said that it’s now up to me to get my account back but no-one will answer me. I am completely powerless.

“There seems to be very little support for businesses who depend on Instagram for sales. I have over 11,000 followers who engage with my jewellery boutique and regularly swipe up to buy from my stories – in fact, around 50% of my revenue comes via Instagram. The loss of my account, whether it be temporary or short term – especially whilst non-essential retail remains closed – is utterly devastating.”

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, countless research has been released pointing to a hike in cybercrime but it’s not just home workers who are under threat. However, should the worst happen, Gibbions says that businesses would hope to access support in getting back on track – but she said, in her case, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

She said: “I pour thousands of pounds into Instagram for advertising each year and the very least they could do is to provide helpdesk support with an actual email and phone number for their huge volume of worldwide businesses. Until they get in touch with me, I have no way of opening my account again.

“Small businesses are facing their hugest mountain to climb in a global pandemic. Instagram has until now been a lifeline for me during each lockdown. And yet now I find myself in a position where the very tech giant I depended on, is the very organisation that isn’t helping, listening or responding to me.”