I’m a photographer and videographer from Denmark. As most photographers, with an online presence, I have an instagram account, or at least I had… It took me quite a while to build up a following on that account. It isn’t much in the big scheme, but for me 6.500 followers is many, and I build it up the hard way, one image at a time.

I had been through a bigger security enhancement on all my outlets, and started up the Instagram App, to do the same Fort Knox treatment to that, when I suddenly couldn’t log in… It didn’t recognise my password, my email or my phone number. I didn’t wear my reading glasses at the time and started to panic, so I tried to log in, by hitting the blue Facebook bar, which was the beginning to my downfall. Because that button created a new account that had just reversed my username from palleschultz to schultzpalle, and that detail caused an infinite amount of confusion inside the instagram support center and me with the issue of not getting back my Instagram account.

I immediately deleted the new account, found my reading glasses and started to figure out how to reach Instagram support, which in itself is almost impossible. After some time researching the internet, while increasingly panicking, I figured out, that you are supposed to do it through the app… So I filled out the form and waited to get back my account.

So I got this answer back:

This answer was very confusing. Not only, was I unsecure that this mail was legit. The email address was odd, and the answer was from Facebook. So I checked my account on a browser, and it was still there.

So I wrote them back:

I soon received this mail, and thought I was headed straight to a solution:

So I did as asked, and send a photo, with the required info… I was not looking happy on that pic.

Now I’m suddenly german?

And then things started going haywire at Instagram support. I was then contacted in German with something I hardly could understand.

I could figure out, that it might have been because they were now confusing the deleted account with the actual account. But why they suddenly wrote me back in German is beyond me.

I wrote them this:

Dear Joseph

Sorry, but I do not speak German. I’ve tried to google translate this message, but it doesn’t make much sense. (I’m Danish)

Problem is that I’ve been hacked and my account has been taken over by some russian character. (See bottom of screenshot)
It is this account: http://instagram.com/palleschultz/

I was contacted by 2Fac Support earlier in english and provided them with this picture, answering a request, with a handwritten code and my username. But I haven’t heard anything back, and I’m starting to get really nervous.  I send this:  (picture of me holding the paper)

I am seriously concerned that the person who took control of my instagram account, will harm or alter the contents, and I can’t read my messages, before I get my account back.
In case you need more proof of the ownership:
This is my facebook page:
You will find a lot of pictures posted from my instagram account and the profile pictures looks like me on the picture above and one of them is the picture I use on Instagram.
I also have a youtube channel aptly named: Palle Schultz here: https://www.youtube.com/user/PalleSchultz/videos
It has videos of and by me. Which is obvious taking a short look on my latest videos.
 I also have my website, also named Palle Schultz: http://palleschultz.dk/strength-integrity-project/ (this is a page with some of the same pictures as my Instagram account and the same project).
I sincerely hope this is enough, to get control of my instagram account back. I’m very nervous that the hacker will destroy what’s on there. I have spend a long time, building up an audience and the channel is essential to my photography.
I hope this is enough proof that I am Palle Schultz
kind regards
Palle Schultz

And then I got another email, also in German…

This was too much for me to understand. I wish I was better at German, but even Google Translate made it into gibberish.

But then I got this, and got all exited, because it somewhat seemed to be a solution.

I pressed the link, and got this:

And then I realised, that they were referring to the autogenerated account, made by Facebook, when I by accident signed in using Facebook…

So I responded back:

Hi again

It is NOT schultzpalle
It is: http://instagram.com/palleschultz
I really need to get it back, please. Notice: It is NOT schultzpalle, it is: PalleSchultz (very important).
It still does this: Picture of the half disguised email with the russian suffix, that had taken over my account.

For some odd reason the Instagram supporters didn’t bother connecting the dots, that my username palleschultz is also part of my email address, but isn’t at all present in the russian email, that took over the account. But they stopped responding all together…

And then things got spooky!

I received this mail:

___

I know (password from my instagram account) one of your pass word. Lets get directly to the point. No one has compensated me to check about you. You do not know me and you’re most likely thinking why you are getting this mail?

actually, I setup a malware on the X videos (porn) web site and do you know what, you visited this web site to have fun (you know what I mean). When you were watching videos, your internet browser started out operating as a Remote control Desktop that has a keylogger which provided me with access to your display screen and also web camera. Immediately after that, my software program obtained all your contacts from your Messenger, Facebook, and emailaccount. And then I created a video. 1st part displays the video you were watching (you have a nice taste haha . . .), and second part shows the recording of your cam, & its u.

You got only 2 possibilities. We should review the solutions in particulars:

1st solution is to just ignore this message. In this case, I am going to send your actual video recording to every one of your contacts and thus just consider concerning the awkwardness you will definitely get. Or in case you are in an affair, how it will eventually affect?

2nd option will be to pay me $7000. We will think of it as a donation. As a consequence, I most certainly will straightaway erase your video. You can carry on daily life like this never took place and you never will hear back again from me.

You will make the payment through Bitcoin (if you don’t know this, search “how to buy bitcoin” in Google search engine).

BTC Address to send to: 1rSP4DNBiAp4Z4t9qqnFoz42LS4dP1FZs
[CASE-sensitive so copy and paste it]

Should you are looking at going to the cops, surely, this email message can not be traced back to me. I have dealt with my steps. I am just not looking to demand a whole lot, I simply want to be paid. You now have one day to pay. I have a unique pixel within this e mail, and at this moment I know that you have read this mail. If I don’t receive the BitCoins, I will send your video to all of your contacts including close relatives, co-workers, and so on. Nevertheless, if I do get paid, I will erase the recording right away. If you want to have evidence, reply with Yes! & I definitely will send your video to your 15 contacts. This is a nonnegotiable offer therefore don’t waste my personal time and yours by replying to this email message.

___

I was more puzzled than scared by this mail. I protect my computer pretty vigorously, got black tape on my webcams, and never visited the site mentioned. The only thing that concerns me, is if this douche starts to destroy the content on my Instagram account, and try to send messages from it. So I answered back, probably to some innocent poor guy, who got his email hacked:

Dear Odey

I’m amazed that you can make a web camera, record through a thick black sticker, which I have on all my webcams.
Congratulations.

Kind regards
P

And then I went back to trying to reason with Instagram “support”… Tried to request support from another palleschultz email, just to get some response and then had to go through the same routine, with the paper with a handwritten code and a headshot of me holding it. So this time i send them exactly that AND a lot of screenshots of my accounts, facebook, youtube and shed loads of proof, that the palleschultz account is mine… And after some days…. I got this:

Again in bloody German…. WTF? Whatever it says, it is just another, we can’t do this or that mail…

I get, that the supporters probably are young people, with no real experience, that follows a step by step procedure, and do not bother to actually look beyond that and actually glance through the emails they receive….

But I get frustrated by this bot society… So impersonal and with out any reason at all. We have become robots. Clients and customers are treated like they are just a number, by people who are used as robots, without the space to actually think for themselves…. Case is, I got frustrated and angry…

So I wrote them this, and probably will not get a reply – I don’t think it will even be read.

I am terribly frustrated here!

You didn’t provide me ANY help. You have tried to help me with a DELETED ACCOUNT THAT I NEVER USED: it used the username: SCHULTPALLE – THIS IS NOT THE ACCOUNT!!! I REPEAT IT IS NOT THAT ACCOUNT!!!!!!!
IT IS NOT, AND I REPEAT NOT THAT ACCOUNT IM TRYING TO GET BACK!!!!!
And why the heck are you writing to me in German???? I am danish! I write to you in English, and you repeatedly write back in German, It is hard for me to understand and extremely frustrating, that you continuously misunderstand what this is all about.
THERE IS NO DOUBT and it is OBVIOUS! That I own the PALLESCHULTZ account. Which is located: HTTP://INSTAGRAM.COM/PALLESCHULTZ
I HAVE PROVEN THAT BEYOND A SHRED OF A DOUBT.
I OWN: PALLESCHULTZ.DK, PALLESCHULTZ.COM, I write to you from: FOTOGRAF@PALLESCHULTZ.DK and PALLESCHULTZ@GMAIL.COM
MY FACEBOOK IS NAMED PALLESCHULTZ and so is my YOUTUBE! Which is ALSO PALLESCHULTZ
And STILL, you REFUSE to REALIZE that it is HIGHLY SUPSPICIOUS, that my INSTAGRAM, WITH THE NAME PALLESCHULTZ (NOT: SCHULTZPALLE), Now is connected to an EMAIL with the SUFFIX . RU
DOESN*T THAT STRIKE YOU AS THE LEAST BIT ODD???????
WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO, TO MAKE YOU ACT ON THIS?????? I’ve written to you SEVERAL times, WITH TONS OF PROOF, AND YOU STILL GIVE ME THE RUNAROUND!!!!!
I NEED MY ACCOUNT BACK…. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!

So I’ve gotten the runaround by Instagram… Partly in german, that I do not read or write and partly in english, that I do understand and are able to communicate in. But for some reason, they do not get the nature of the problem. It is like kicking a brick wall…

If anyone out there have any idea, what you could do, to reach somebody with an independant mind at Instagram, please write me.

Palle

Update – This happened… And still nothing from Instagram.


Update again: My amount of followers dropped quite a bit, but: I got my instagram account back. And I got a bunch of them back again.
With huge help from fellow X-Photographer and proper standup guy: Kim Farrelly, who knew which buttons to push at Facebook, he managed to get the people at FB to get me back in control of the account.

Big heartfelt thanks to all of you who reached out to me, and it is now safe to follow me at @palleschultz at instagram again.
I sincerely hope that Instagram support, will take a deep look at their procedures, because my experience with their support, was at best bizarre. But on the other hand, I am GRATEFUL that I finally got it back. So thank you, whoever finally made it happen at Instagram.