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Hackers steal influencer’s Instagram account and demand money

A popular TikTok influencer in Hawaii said hackers targeted her friend and then targeted her into giving up access to her account and holding it for ransom money.

SAN DIEGO — Upset and shocked, 19-year-old TikTok user Dolores Cachola-Tapia shared with her 1.3 million followers that she no longer had access to her Instagram account under the handle Dolores Da Explorer.

She said it seemed legit at first. 

"So I did this ad video, which was really stupid of me because now it helps them on tricking people," she said.

Dolores, who lives in Hawaii said on Sunday her friend reached out to her about if she would do a testimonial video for his trading company.

"This particular friend in particular actually loves stock trading, so I know this person. I didn't have any inkling feeling at that time because there wasn't really anything to do with asking or putting in my own bank info,” Delores said.

Dolores said she had no idea that friend's account had been hacked on Instagram, so she sent him a testimonial video where she detailed how she “invested $1000 and I got $10,000 back."

Through a course of back-and-forth direct messages, Dolores said next her friend's account asked her to add a Forex Trade email to her account profile.

"I mistakenly put the email on my own Instagram handle, and three minutes later, bam it was taken over," she said.

Just like that Dolores’ account access was gone, and she was locked out

“I was hooked and sinked, that's what happened," she said. 

Even though Dolores did not give up any money or banking info, the hackers demanded she pay $500 to get her account back and messaged all her followers that she was kidnapped and needed money. Unfortunately, one follower did pay up $300.

“Looking back, I felt like maybe I was too greedy for things or maybe I was just too naïve. This is actually serious. It wasn't that it just affected me, it affected all of my friends and innocent people,” Delores said.

Dolores struggled to contact Instagram and regain access to her account. She said she now wishes she would've texted or called her friend before adding this new email to her IG account.

A statement from Facebook, which owns Instagram, in part reads:

"We know that losing access to your account can be a distressing experience. We have sophisticated measures in place to stop bad actors in their tracks before they gain access to accounts, as well as measures to help people recover their accounts. We know we can do more here, and we're working hard in both of these areas to stop bad actors before they cause harm, and to keep our community safe." 

Facebook advises users to turn on two-factor authentication for additional security.

More information on how to avoid scams can be found here.

WATCH RELATED: Scammers trying to find more victims with group threads 

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