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An Australian rapper was scammed out of £26,000 (A$50,000) and had his Instagram account disabled after responding to an innocent looking message.
A hacker hijacked the account belonging to Trent Pedrana and his long-time partner Chloe Jackman, which left them unable to sell merchandise, struggling to pay their mortgage and look after their young child.
Pedrana, 25, goes by his stage name That Kid Kearve. He previously went to number one on the rap and hip hop charts on iTunes.
When the independent rapper was unable to perform during the pandemic, he used Instagram and other social media sites to make money by selling merchandise and promoting new releases online. He estimates that he’s lost $50,000 since the hack happened.
Speaking to news.com.au, Jackman said that six months after the hack they’re still unable to bring in money through their Instagram account.
The rapper responded to an innocent looking messageThat Kid Kearve
“Terrible timing, right when I stopped working, we were expecting more money to be coming than what it was,” she said.
“Just before this has happened, I’ve invested close to $100,000 in a house, it was a bad time for it to happen,’ Pedrana added.
“I haven’t done shows in two years, I’ve been living off my streams and my merch. I can’t even set up a tour or anything [due to the hack], that’s $50,000 to $100,000 gone,” he said. "I’m still making money [but] can’t do anything else to progress.”
Pedrana also recalled the first time he was contacted by the hacker, who sent him a malevolent link pretending to be a delivery operative.
“I was waiting for stuff from the post, I get sent the tracking numbers,” Pedrana said, explaining how the link caused him to be logged out of his Instagram page.
The phone number on the account was changed to one from Turkey, and the hacker then reached out to Pedrana’s family and demanded £790 ($1500) as a ransom payment.
“The police have been contacted and so have Instagram we will have the account back tomorrow,” the rapper’s sister told the hacker.
“I can take it back for sure when you get it … I am not doing this for the first time,” they replied.
After complaints were logged to Instagram, the account was eventually taken offline. However, the rapper received an error message after being sent a password reset link. He is still waiting for a resolution six months later.
Meta, which owns Instagram and has been approached for comment, previously said in a statement: “It’s important people understand how to protect their accounts from suspicious activity which is why we’ve built features that give people the power to manage their experience with our platforms and take action when they see something suspicious.”
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