CHICAGO (CBS) — These days, business owners can spend a lot of time and money promoting their brands on Instagram.
The social media platform is how Chicago real estate broker and architect Nancy Gordon has worked to grow her business over the past few years. But one link – one message – took up a lot of that hard work.
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She told CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra that you might think you’ll be helped if you get hacked. – but she didn’t.
Gordon has a purpose when she shares her work on Instagram.
“I want my page to be a place where people come to learn, see opportunities, and feel truly empowered,” she said.
At Gordon’s FancyHavenMaven, you’ll find 800 announcement posts and design tips. And now Gordon can’t even access it herself.
This is all down to a message she received on Feb. 7 from a store owner she had been chatting with about finding a product. The message said – with a period rather than a question mark at the end of the sentence – “Can I send you a link and you send it back to me.”
“So I got a DM from who I thought was this woman saying, ‘Can I text you a link? – what I thought was ordering a product, “and you can text it back to me,” Gordon said.
The message didn’t really come from the store owner. It was from a hacker who had taken over the store’s account and wasted no time in locking Gordon out of his own account as well. Gordon immediately tried to report it through the Instagram app, but ran into brick walls – so she emailed Instagram executives. She even contacted the accounting office of the application, to whom she had paid a lot of money for the promoted posts.
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“I have never, to this day, gotten a response from anyone,” Gordon said.
In the past 14 days, Gordon says the hacker scammed two of his followers out of several thousand dollars in a bitcoin scheme. The hacker even messaged Saavedra herself – trying the scheme after following the account, with that same message now coming from the FancyHavenMaven account, “Can I send you a link and you send it back to me.”
“Let there be no help – and you can’t even report the problem – is there anything worse than this?” said Gordon. “This person is going to have control of my page forever.”
Lost, Gordon created a new page, Chicago Haven Maven.
She also warns her supporters. She feels betrayed enough to want to quit the platform and is frustrated that she can’t because nowadays Instagram is business whether it protects them or not.
“Knowing that this platform has so much power and how much money they’re making – for them to sit there and say we’re working to create a safe space, but they knowingly do the absolute minimum – that couldn’t be more disconnected,” says Gordon.
We have covered many stories of people having their Facebook or Instagram accounts hacked. In the past, we’ve had news from Meta with promises to look into our viewers’ issues.
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Not so with this one. Like Gordon, CBS 2’s Saavedra still hadn’t heard from Meta as of Monday night. But we will keep trying.