I'm Ariela. I'm a creator. I've always been a creator. And like so many other millennials, I've had to side hustle to make ends meet on top of my healthcare career. I've done sex work, created artisan aromatherapy products, and even told fortunes. I'm quite proud of myself and how I've managed to hit the ground running. It's not easy being a creator in today's society. There's so much growth that needs to happen and often times we have no choice but to hustle. But I continue to do what I love because it brings me joy. And at the end of the day, that's all that really matters.
I would not consider myself a computer nerd, but I wasn't stupid. I grew up around computers and even took a few professional development courses in IT during my healthcare career. And guess what? I still got hacked. Even after annual cybersecurity trainings through my employer (two separate employers, in fact). The thing is, computer security is always evolving, and there are new ways for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities that pop up all the time. That's why it's important to be vigilant and educated about computer security, even if you're not a computer whiz. Because even the most computer-savvy people can still be vulnerable to hacking.
I’m neurodivergent, and when I’m in hardcore work mode, aka. bouncing in between my multiple hustles to support myself, sometimes I’m not paying attention to the close details. This moment of vulnerability is exactly what made me so vulnerable to having everything hacked. 2022 has seen a record number increase in hacks of online creators, and while I wasn't a top influencer, it was a substantial part of my income – because my creator accounts drove my side hustles. Everything was a cycle.
"All it took was clicking that one link for two years of hard work to vaporize."
And then just like that – my data and identity were compromised when my Instagram account was hacked by Nigerian Bitcoin scammers.
Let me tell you, they were clever as all hell. They hacked my friend’s account, and then they studied the DMs we shared. With this information, they convinced me it was her texting me. They even referred to me by the the cute pet name we have for each other.
And all it took was clicking that one link for two years of hard work–and money spent!–to vaporize.
I’m really lucky, in that I responded quickly so they couldn’t compromise the rest of my online data—by changing my passwords and even some of the email addresses. I wasn’t financially hit by this hack, but it could have been potentially disastrous. We live in a world where femmes’ rights and lives are becoming increasingly endangered. We absolutely cannot allow this to continue in the digital realm.
*Please note: While our user has given us explicit permission to share their story, names have been changed for discretion.