World Cup racer Andreas Kolb
is appealing for new followers after his Instagram account was hacked and held to ransom for €300. Kolb had gained a following of 9,800 fans on the account but will now have to build his online presence back up from zero.
While it may seem like a minor problem for most of us, losing a large portion of a social media presence is a big problem for professional mountain bikers. Riders rely on a social audience to help promote their sponsors and nearly two thirds of riders in our State of the Sport Survey agreed with the statement, "I have to make content to maintain my income." Andreas said, "These days it’s really important I think. If you do good on social media it’s way easier to get sponsors and sometimes even a ride in a good team."
Andreas had asked to become a verified Instagram user about three weeks ago so when he received an email confirming his verification status, he thought nothing was wrong. Unfortunately, the email was not from Instagram but a hacker. He clicked a link in the email and within 60 seconds the email address for the account was changed and the account was blocked. Andreas attempted to contact Instagram to get his account back "5-10 times" but received no help from them.
The hackers asked for a ransom of €300 to return the account and Andreas was apparently close to paying them but in the end decided against it as he could not trust they would give it back. Instead, Andreas has started a new account and is asking his former followers to keep up to date with his posts there. Andreas has already picked up more than 2,000 followers on his new account and you can help by checking out his page andreas.kolb66
Hopefully Andreas can boost his following back up and continue to promote himself through the app. However, if you find yourself receiving a strange email about social media, "Check everything twice," he advises. "The email I got looked really good only the email address was a bit weird. Sadly I saw that too late."
The email Andreas received from the hacker.