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I woke up one Saturday morning and automatically reached for my phone to check Instagram, my social media platform of choice. I had two accounts at that point, one which I’ve had for years which I’ve used since I started my Wish Vintage business. The account has evolved with me and I’d reached the dizzying heights of 2,500 followers. I can tell you the moments those followers increased, the amazing engagement I had on there most days and how integral it was in my day. But until I was told in a little pop up message that not only was I no longer logged on but there was no such account as Wish Vintage did I realise just how very important that account was.

I managed to find my account by searching on one of the # I use on my posts. My account was now called a different name and had a bloke in the profile picture. The bio had been deleted but other than that it was my account.

There was no way to get back into it.

I spent the day trying not to be hysterical about it and refusing to let an Instagram account destroy me. But by the afternoon my voice cracked when I said there was no such thing as Wish Vintage on Instagram anymore. Years of work. Years of engagement with people. My aprilget2knowavintagedealer #

All gone.

My husband googled through the madness and worked out that this was common. It’s Russian work apparently. Google said that the Instagram reporting system is automatic rather than human and is very frustrating. Google suggested that whatever happens you immediately reclaim your user name to bagsy it.

I set up a new Instagram account with the Wish Vintage name. And I started again. I decided I didn’t want to give in, to be a victim. So I mentally decided to just start again.

Amongst my vintage community there was a huge outpouring of support and many of my on line friends shared my plight. I was virtually hugged. It was so lovely and an absolute silver lining.

I found myself checking my old account so frequently though. Reporting it as impersonating me. To no avail. Instagram found nothing wrong.

Definitely my Nanny!

Frustrating!

On about day 5 I worked out how to report it. I don’t know whether Instagram make it difficult or I’m a bit stupid!!!!

I put the new account name in and then pressed the need further help button. A menu now appeared where I could say I thought my account had been hacked. Quickly I received an email asking I send a photo of me holding a sign with a given code on it.

I did this.

I then received an email asking that I give a précis of what had happened, when I last had access to the account and to provide my details.

And then I waited. And waited. And virtually gave up hope.

But a few hours after the week anniversary of losing my account I received and email that gave me my account back.

And here’s what I learned!

1. Set up 2 factor verification on your account. It doesn’t always work but it’s a start.

2. Consider having a different email address as your log on to the one you give out. My email log on was accessible on my account if you wanted to email me through the Instagram link on my bio page. I now have a different contact email and log in email.

3. Have photos of yourself on your grid. So that it’s obvious it’s you!

4. Instagram is a community, cherish those connections. They’ll help you get it back. So many people reported on my behalf that it can only have helped!

5. Do a social media health check regularly. Change passwords and check you know the log in details.

6. Use a personal # on your photos so you can find your account again. #wishvintage is mine, it’s as straightforward as that.

7. If you get taken over find the new account name and use that to try to log in. When that fails ask for more help and follow the instructions.

8. Don’t give up.

Don’t think this won’t ever happen to you. There’s a very good chance it will! And just to confirm, when I got my account back the new email address had ended with an .RU