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Hackers take over popular restaurant's Instagram; has major impact on business

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Posted: Apr 10, 2021 11:02 AM

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    WEBSTER GROVES, Missouri (KMOV) -- The owners of Balkan Treat Box in Webster Groves were preparing for what should have been their biggest week in over a year. They reopened indoor dining at their restaurant for the first time since March 2020 and expected it to be busy, instead it's been nearly dead.

Loryn and Edo Nalic say a hacker got into their Balkan Treat Box Instagram account and it has taken a major hit on business.

"Coming back from COVID and opening our doors and then having to put all of that aside again because we now we can't reach our customers," Loryn said. "Yeah, it sucks."

The couple said they received an Instagram message warning about a copyright infringement. The message claimed their restaurant's account would be shut down within 24 hours. "There was a link that you could have followed but Edo blocked it and reported them," said Loryn.

Within hours, they were blocked from the account. The couple was able to log onto their email, change their password, and get back into their account. Just hours later, they were blocked again. This time, the hacker changed the email, password, and name on the Instagram account.

It's been nearly a week and they are still locked out of the account. "We had so many plans to post of what we have up and coming and we cannot do that," said Edo.

Edo and Loryn said having started as a food truck in 2016, Instagram posts drive in a lot of business. Balkan Treat Box has nearly 14,000 followers. The couple posts pictures everyday showing the special and other deals. "We hear from customers that came in this week like we didn't know what was going on, we didn't know you were open, you weren't posting," said Loryn.

The Nalics said the hackers keeps changing the name on the account, still keeping all their pictures.

"While it may leave people scratching their heads about how did they get in here, on the dark web there are a lot of people that really work at using every bit of information they can get to put together the whole profile for the person and that's why it's really important not to share a lot of information on social media because people are out there combing it for little bits of information about you," said Rebecca Phoenix with the Better Business Bureau.

Phoenix recommends backing up the data from your social media accounts. She also said setting up a two-factor authentication for accounts can make it more difficult for hackers to get into your account. This will send a code to your email or phone that must be entered to access the account. Phoenix said if your accounts have been hacked, report it to the BBB's scamtracker.

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