Have you ever had your world ripped from underneath your feet? 5 days ago that happened to me.
Look, I get this sounds dramatic, and possibly even superficial, but I have worked so hard to earn the relationships and business that I’ve participated in with my Instagram account. And on Monday morning, it was completely ripped from me without warning or explanation as to why.
On Sunday night I got a message from my recent giveaway winner. She asked me if this specific account was me… right away I had a pit in my stomach. I looked at it, and this account had STOLEN MY pictures, MY captions and MY bio! They were flat out impersonating me, and any fool could easily see that.
They had only had their account active for a few hours at this point, so I immediately reported it. I filled out the form on instagram, and was hopeful this person would be removed stat!
The next morning, I was returning some emails, and went to log into my account, and got this notification…
I was flabbergasted. I was at the gym, and I couldn’t keep working out. I just curled into a ball in the corner as I tried and tried again to get this thing to work. I looked into as many things as I could, resent the form, reported the bot account, but nothing was happening. I felt so stuck.
I know this may seem fickle and stupid, but this account is something special to me. I started it 2.5 months ago from scratch and had grown it to 8k in that little time. The relationships I have built are authentic, meaningful and incredibly supportive. I was crushed thinking that those relationships were just taken from me in a blink of an eye. No email giving me any reason as to why my account was disabled, no timeframe to get my contacts first or anything. It was absolutely infuriating!
I immediately took to the internet for answers. I tried searching on instagram for help, but kept coming up dry. I shared on my personal account to try and get the word out about this spam account and to recruit help to shut it down!! They still had pics of my kids on their page!
I alone reported this account at least 100 times, and I know I have SO many people in my corner that reported it as well. Since it was my account that was being impersonated, I was the only one that could report it for that, but everyone was reporting it for whatever they could to try and get it flagged for something! I didn’t hear anything back from Instagram all of Monday.
Tuesday morning I woke up, hopeful for a different result. Instead, I got this and immediately broke. down.
Instagram had “reviewed” this persons profile and had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t impersonating anyone. This tipped me over the edge. It was so obvious. I lost it. I broke down in tears feeling utterly defeated. After sending in dozens and dozens of emails, and reporting it so many times, this is what they came back with? I was pissed to say the least. I posted on my personal IG to try and get people to keep reporting in hopes we could turn this around and “tried” to request support.
Radio silence from instagram. No “thank you for submitting this form”, no “we will be in touch within 1-14 business days”. Nothing!
Wednesday (day 3 of my shut down) – I woke up to a similar message. Instagram had reviewed my report that the account was “violent” and deemed it okay. That I can be okay with. I sent off another email, reported it a few more times and then started my day DETERMINED to have a positive day!
Gym, swimming then nap time. I started catching up on some emails when I saw this notification come through on our woodworking page, then a flood of messages started coming in from friends and family that had reported it too!
PRAISE THE HEAVENS!!!!!!! The impersonator account was found to be spam and FINALLY removed!! What do you know?! So incredibly psyched out of my mind. I’m so grateful for so many incredible people in my tribe. I literally couldn’t have done it without every single report that was made.
I have this super duper awesome friend who works for facebook, lets call him Chris Johnson because, well that’s his name 🤗. He created an internal ticket on Monday, and he said that they were asking for a pic to prove my identity, and after we send that, we should be back up and running. I have no idea where i would be in this process if it weren’t for my friend at Facebook.
Other than him, I have gotten NO correspondence from Instagram, which is SUCH a disappointment (and that is a massive understatement). Every form i filled out, every email that was sent… nothing was returned. They never notified me that my account was going to be shut down, nothing! It was very sudden and abrupt.
If your account EVER is impersonated, report it right away! Report it as spam, have friends and family hound the account and report it like crazy. I even went in and reported all of the photos! I really feel like this is what finally got the account deleted.
What I think I did wrong? PLUS —> tips i learned!
I have since learned that there are two forms to choose from when you have someone impersonating your account. If you have an instagram, and if you don’t. I was told to be sure you use the form “if you don’t have an IG”. I did the other, and I think this is why my account was removed rather than the impersonator.
I have since learned some other tricks that *may* help if you find yourself in this situation:
• send a report that you think your account was deactivated because someone believed you could be underage, include a pic of your handle and ID to prove your age.
• create a Facebook page for your account. Create a post and boost it for $5. When you do this, you will be given access to a Facebook chat team. Then you can try to chat your way through reinstating your Instagram account.
• keep sending reports and messages. It became a habit for me, wake up, send an email, fill out a form and include pictures for proof. It’s tedious, but you have to do it!
Be safe, and always have the two-factor authentication turned on! This is super helpful if someone is hacking your account, which I am very grateful I didn’t have to face. So I guess if you want to see it… there’s the silver lining!
So today (Friday)… at 4:30… this happened…
It was such a whirlwind 5 days… and I pray NOBODY else has to go through this. Although, I know it will happen. So if it does… I hope this helps!