How I Got Hacked: Paige Doherty, @WanderTears

Having built their own teardrop camper van to take them on adventures all over the USA, Paige and Daniel Doherty are now helping people all over North America follow in their footsteps - and live a meaningful life in the process.

 

With a business creating content and selling custom-built teardrop trailers, they’ve grown a sizable community - which they almost lost for good after a hack in 2021. Read on to get Paige’s story of falling victim to a hacker, being held to a ransom, and the struggle to get back her account. 


How Wander Tears got started

“Our social presence started when we hand-built our first teardrop camper in 2020, and took it for a month-long voyage across the US. 

We got rained on one too many times in our tent. We thought, let's just go make something that's going to be better and help us travel more.

At first we were just sharing our travels, but then a family reached out and asked if we could build a teardrop camper for them. We did that, and it jump started the business.”

Fusing a business with content creation 

“We saw a lot of interest in the DIY side of things - people were interested in seeing how we built the campers and how they can build their own. So we began creating more content that focused on this. We’re a unique account because we’re a business but we’re also content creators, and our brand is very much a combination of these.

Our main goal on Instagram is to help people lead a meaningful and intentional life, and to encourage them to stop waiting in order to live their dream life. We’re trying to help people get out and travel more.”

"Our main goal on Instagram is to help people lead a meaningful and intentional life"

The horror of getting hacked

“Most of our business comes through social media - it’s such a great way to meet similar minded people. We’d just hit the 20,000 follower milestone, so when we got hacked, it was just devastating. Not only that, it happened two weeks before our wedding - as if we needed more stress! 

I was unwell after realizing what had happened. More than anything, I felt stupid for falling for the bait. Looking back with hindsight, there were clear signs that this was a phishing scam.”

"I was unwell after realizing what had happened. More than anything, I felt stupid for falling for the bait".

How the hacker tricked them

“The hacker used a profile that was made to look like an official Instagram account. He messaged us saying there was a copyright infringement on one of our videos, and then provided a link to the video. 

I'm a goody two shoes, so naturally I got scared after reading this message and wanted to fix the issue immediately. So I clicked on the link, and the next thing I know I’m locked out of my account and being held ransom."

The struggle retrieving the account

“I tried to reach out to the Facebook Ad support team, and they were of zero help - they just sent us to an Instagram page with a form to fill out.

We didn’t have much hope - we’d heard from other victims of Instagram hacks that they’d submitted this form 20-30 times a day and still received no help from Instagram.

Despite this, we submitted the form and hoped for the best. However, we didn’t even receive the automated email you’re supposed to receive after completing the form.

Luckily for us, we have a close connection working within Instagram who helped us retrieve the account. She was super helpful and managed to get the account back, but for most other creators this won’t be an option. 

"We’d heard from other victims of Instagram hacks that they’d submitted this form 20-30 times a day and still received no help from Instagram".

Almost losing the community

“It seems silly to be so affected by a social media account. But it’s so much more than that - we’d built this DIY community and really value being able to help people achieve their goals. So being locked out was just so frustrating.”

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Senior Content Manager at Notch

Londoner living in Tel Aviv. Spend my time thinking about content marketing, eating hummus, and watching or playing football. Fascinated by web3, the creator economy, and where the two collide.

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