OWNERS of a holiday firm in Rhayader whose lives were changed when TV star Stacey Solomon and her family were the first guests, have been victims to an Instagram hacker.
Ben Powell and Gemma Davies, who run Underground Houses on the family’s holiday let site in Rhayader attracted national attention when Loose Women star Stacey, her partner ex-Eastenders actor Joe Swash, and children took a family holiday at the glamping site last autumn.
As a result of the star’s support, the company’s Instagram account exploded, enjoying a thirty-fold increase in followers in a matter of hours.
But this week, the firm’s Instagram account has been hacked – with the hacker changing the account name, deleting most of its photos, and contacting the owners demanding money for it to be restored.
Gemma says the account is crucial to the future of the business and is calling for more support from the social media giant to have it restored.
The matter has also been reported to Dyfed-Powys Police.
Gemma said: “Our first guests to stay with us were Stacey Solomon and her family, she enjoyed it so much she shared it on her Instagram and we were inundated with new followers, quickly jumping from approximately 5,000 followers to over 150,000 followers in 24 hours.
“This has created the main platform for our business and not only booked all of the Underground Houses out for 2021 but all of the school holidays of 2022 also. We have used this to set up a mini agency type business where we have secured many many bookings for not only ourselves but other owners alike. All of these bookings are driven through Instagram.
“Unfortunately last night (March 23) our Instagram account was hacked and taken over by somebody else, the person has deleted everything off it besides three pictures, he has now changed the name of the account and everything else with it. The person is demanding money from us and then he will give us the account back.
“We have been trying all night and all day today to get in contact with Instagram themselves to seek help and advice on how we can go about recovering our account, to lose this would be absolutely devastating after all of our hard work to build our account up, and then be made into something so much more than just and ‘Instagram account’.
She added: “We find it so frustrating that we are getting no reply from Instagram so that they can help us to try and put this right and beat the hackers. We are so disappointed that it is so difficult to get hold of an Instagram official who could help / advise us with this issue.
“Stacey Solomon out of the kindness of her heart changed our lives forever and if we can not recover our Instagram, our little Welsh business will be all over, all because Instagram have made it so hard for account holders to get through to someone.”