How I Got Hacked: Natalie Grunberg-Ferreira

Reuben Lewis

Senior Content Manager at Notch

How I got hacked

An entrepreneur at heart, Natalie Grunberg-Ferreira’s hair salon in British Columbia, Canada is a thriving small business with a strong community on Instagram. All was going well, until one day Natalie found herself locked out of her account, with a hacker posting investment scams through her business's profile. We caught up with Natalie to share her story - including how she fell victim to a hack, its harsh impact on her business, and taking matters into her own hands to get @TheNaturalHairSalon back.

From school teacher to entrepreneur

"I started as a high school teacher and while I taught I opened an online shop called Panty by Post. It was one of the first subscription businesses ever! I sold that to open a hair salon with my award-winning stylist husband. Now we are about to open our second location, have over 25 staff, and we’ve been rated Best in the City!" 

Investing in growing an Instagram community

"For a few years we have invested in a social media specialist and now we use a local company @allorastudios. Hours of time, plus many thousands of dollars have been poured into this platform. It’s how we showcase our brand and our stylists’ work. It’s how we offer openings and promote offers and such. It’s vital to our business development". 

“[Instagram is] how we showcase our brand and our stylists’ work. It’s how we offer openings and promote offers and such. It’s vital to our business development.” 

Duped by the promise of a blue check 

"One Saturday morning I received an email from security@instagram offering me the blue verification mark. Not realizing the email address was one letter off the real security@instagram email, I clicked the link and answered the login questions. Within just a few seconds, I’d lost control of the account that plays such an important part in my salon business. I was shocked and devastated, but even worse I felt helpless since Instagram didn’t provide a clear path for retrieval or reporting". 

“I was shocked and devastated, but even worse I felt helpless since Instagram didn’t provide a clear path for retrieval or reporting.”

Left on her own

"Instagram never responded to my requests for support, despite emailing daily. To make matters worse, the story the hacker posted on my account was an investment scam and one of my clients fell prey to it - she lost $2000. The story was reported probably hundreds of times but nothing came of it. It’s wrong that Instagram cares so little for victims of fraud".

{{learn-more}}

Damage to the business

"Three weeks being locked out of our Instagram took its toll on our salon: clients could no longer get personalized service, we likely lost a lot of business, and we lost all traction for a big giveaway we did. We also lost hundreds of followers".

Taking matters into her own hands

"After three weeks locked out of our account with no help from Instagram support, we went to the local media. The reporter got Instagram to answer her and by dinner I had my account back".

Advice to help other SMBs/Instagram creators protect their accounts 

"Aside from being super careful clicking on any links, make sure you set up two step authentication - I made the mistake of not doing it. Also, I wasn’t aware insurance for Instagram accounts existed, but I’d certainly encourage other business owners to look into insuring their accounts".

“Aside from being super careful clicking on any links, make sure you set up two step authentication.”

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