TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Daniel Higgins knew something was up when he suddenly couldn’t log into his Instagram account and then discovered his password had been changed.
But he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw a new post on his account: a video of man that looked and sounded just like him, telling all of his Instagram followers to buy Bitcoin.
“I just invested $300 into Bitcoin and got $10,000 back. Gotta try it,” the fake Higgins said in the video.
Suddenly, he received text messages from followers wondering what was going on.
That was weeks ago. Higgins has been trying ever since to regain access to his account. He says his attempts to convince Instagram to help have gone no where.
There’s no real person to contact, so Higgins has gone through the online procedure of alerting Instagram of the problem. He was even told by the system he would be sent a new password.
“All the new passwords were going to his email instead of mine,” Higgins said.
As a music producer, who goes by D Higgs, Higgins relies on Instagram to network and seek new projects.
“I have all my links on my page so it’s kind of like the main source where everyone can go to see my music and my art,” he said. “I’ve connected with some of the biggest artists and producers in the industry and if I lose contact with them through Instagram, some of them I don’t have their phone number or anything because they’re very private, so it would be hard to get it back.”
It’s likely that his thousands of followers is what made him a target for the hacker, who is now phishing for those followers to click on links they post. Followers are even receiving direct messages from the person posing as Higgins.
You may have heard about deepfake videos that use an algorithm to replace the person in the original video with someone else in a way that makes it look real.
Some deepfake videos using public figures have gone viral. As Higgins’ story shows, though, regular people can be targeted, too.
Fed up, Higgins turned to Better Call Behnken for help. I’ve called and emailed every contact I could find at Instagram and Facebook.
After a week of silence, a spokesperson indicated the situation is being looked into, but it’s still unclear if the company is going help Higgins.
Meanwhile, he is forced to watch from the sidelines as some crook pretends to be him and inundates his followers with fake posts about Bitcoin.