Country singer Jody Direen is reeling after her Facebook account was hacked and deleted.
For the past three months Direen, of Wanaka, has been working with her record label and the social media platform to recover it.
The incident had cost her dearly, she said: she lost 14,000 followers and was forced to set up a new account earlier this month.
“With no luck in recovering my original page, it’s time to bite the bullet and start again,” she said.
“I’m basically starting again and rebuilding.”
In December she received a copyright claim alert, something that was not unusual due to her work.
However, this time she was instructed to log back into her account that she did not think too much of because she was busy.
“I’m assuming at that point they took control of my account.”
A friend contacted her to say she could not find her account.
After further investigation, Direen discovered the hacker had also accessed about $1250 from her advertising account, but that was refunded by Facebook.
Direen, who said the experience felt “very violating”, now wanted to warn others of the risks associated with social media.
“It was like they had taken over my online world. It was really horrible,” she said.
“I didn’t think for a second it wasn’t Facebook reaching out to me and then, boom.”
Her words of advice to others were simple: enhance your online security.
“It’s definitely a huge learning curve,” she said.
“I wish I thought twice and got a second opinion.
“I think that I’ve definitely learned not to take online security too lightly.”
It had been easy to “blow it off and think it will never happen to me”, but not any more, she said.
“It can be quite a scary world
Direen was “amazed” by how many other people had shared their own stories with her after they or a friend had been targeted.
“Anyone can be a victim of it. It happens more than what I ever realised.”