SINGAPORE – When Mr Faisel Mohamed, 45, received an order for kueh lapis, which he sells through his Instagram account, the home-based baker did not expect to lose access to the account.
It all began on Sept 10, when he received an order from a customer who demanded that he would pay only after Mr Faisel verified his identity as a genuine seller.
The customer claimed he wanted the verification because he previously did not receive items he ordered from other home-based businesses via Instagram.
The customer told Mr Faisel to take a screenshot of an Instagram message he will receive and forward it to him.
Mr Faisel did as he was asked.
But he later received an e-mail from Instagram informing him that a user in Nigeria had changed his log-in details.
It was then that he realised he had been scammed.
The screenshot he had sent to the supposed customer contained a link from Instagram to reset his password. The scammer used it and locked Mr Faisel out of his account.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Mr Faisel said: “It slipped my mind to check the link. I was so busy chatting online with a few customers at the same time.
“If only I had thought before I pressed ‘send’. This is my biggest regret.”
Scammers used his hijacked Instagram account to advertise fake investment schemes and contests to his 5,000 followers.
In an Instagram post that has since been deleted, the scammer claimed he made $10,000 from a $500 investment by following the advice of an investment guru.
Mr Faisel said: “A lot of my followers unfollowed me. As a home-based business, I depend on my followers, who are my loyal customers.
“I’ve stopped taking orders completely. I don’t know how much of my baking supplies to buy. I can’t deliver just a few orders. It would be too expensive.”
Mr Faisel has tried many ways to reclaim his account, including sending Instagram a photo of himself holding his NRIC and a video selfie. But so far, he has been unsuccessful in confirming that he is the genuine owner of the account.