Instagram accounts with substantial followings can be lucrative social media properties—especially to hackers.
For more than a year, Instagram has been grappling with affected users’ complaints after hackers have hijacked accounts and extorted the original users or sold them off to the highest bidder.
First reported by Motherboard, victims had to pay more than $100 to retrieve their accounts, some of which had more than 50,000 followers before it was taken over. In other cases, hackers will leverage accounts with massive followers and sell off those accounts for as much as $100,000, The Atlantic reported.
These victims often can’t retrieve their profiles through traditional methods because the hackers will take measures like changing the account’s email address and phone numbers to prevent recoveries.