Hughes Clothing owner Rebecca Burrows. (Photo credit: Table Creative)

Hughes Clothing owner Rebecca Burrows. (Photo credit: Table Creative)

Oak Bay business has Instagram hacked, naked photos demanded in return

Hughes Clothing owner creating non-profit in response

An Oak Bay business owner has made it her mission to make social media platforms more accountable after a hacker seized her Instagram account and demanded naked photos in return last week.

On Jan. 28, Hughes Clothing owner Rebecca Burrows received a message from what looked like Instagram saying that it was having some problems with copyright infringement and asking her to fill out a form with some personal information. Worried that she may have accidentally posted a distributor’s photo without proper permission, Burrows filled out and sent in the form.

Soon after, she discovered her credit card, email and Instagram had been hacked and she no longer had control of her account.

RELATED: Spoofed phone numbers, requests for cash by mail among recent fraud attempts in Saanich

When Burrows messaged the hacker through her personal Instagram and asked for her account back, he responded that he would return it on one condition – that she send naked photos of herself.

“I was mortified,” Burrows said. “I was almost ashamed, which I think in a lot of violations that’s a normal feeling. You right away go to blame yourself.”

On Wednesday night, Burrows found out the invasion hadn’t stopped with her. The hacker also found and messaged her 12-year-old step-daughter and sent her a sleazy photo of himself.

“It was just gross,” Burrows said. “Inappropriate beyond measure.”

RELATED: Victoria police now investigating reports of sexual assault, harassment at downtown restaurant

Since then, Burrows said she has sent more than 100 messages to Instagram reporting the incident and the hacker’s account, but the only response she has gotten is an automated “we found this account likely doesn’t go against our Community Guidelines.” She also reported it to police but was told because it was online and the hacker doesn’t appear to live in Canada, there is nothing they can do.

“There’s this big kind of universe out there that’s unpoliced,” she said. Perhaps the biggest frustration, Burrows added, is that it is impossible to get in touch with an actual person at conglomerates like Facebook – which owns Instagram.

So, Burrows has decided to take it upon herself to change that. She is starting a non-profit with the goal of lobbying conglomerates to create a 1-800 number with real people on the other end to help individuals – especially women and children – who have been sexually targeted on their platforms. She is also working to get the government to hold online platforms to account.

“I want to leave my mark and make something good out of something bad that happened.”

The new Hughes Clothing Instagram account can be found at @hughesclothingvictoria.

RELATED: Hughes Clothing comes home to Oak Bay


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

hackerslocal businessoak bay

Just Posted

On May 10, Saanich council unanimously approved a 2020 budget with a 5.76 per cent property tax increase. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich adopts 5.76% property tax hike for 2021

Budget includes $2.6 million to accelerate climate actions, active transportation targets

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Gorge skull fragment could bring closure to one Greater Victoria missing person case

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

(Black Press Media file photo)
Gas leak at Colwood Corners

Emergency crews on scene

SIG
Policing amid pandemic challenging, says Sooke’s top cop

Mounties document reduction in property crime and impaired driving

According to Statistics Canada, Greater Victoria’s unemployment rose half a per cent to 6.2 per cent in April 2021 compared to the previous month. (Black Press Media File)
Unemployment in Greater Victoria continues to rise

April figures peg local unemployment at 6.2%

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

This house at 1514 Trumpeter Cres. in Courtenay is currently for sale, with a disclaimer that the property was used in a cannabis grow operation in the past. Photo by Record staff
Drug trafficking at Vancouver Island residence nets over $250K forfeiture

Ruling comes from a search warrant executed in 2016 on Trumpeter Crescent home

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

A Mountie issued B.C. RCMP’s first ticket for non-essential travel May 1. (Black Press Media files)
Driver ticketed, told to ‘return to Lower Mainland immediately’ by Vancouver Island police

The motorist was originally pulled over for driving-related offences May 1

Children walk back to their classroom while wearing masks and physical distancing at St. Barnabas Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont., in October, 2020. A group of B.C. teachers has issued an open letter calling for the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in B.C. schools. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Group of B.C. teachers calls for easing of pandemic measures for students

Teacher group says ‘response to COVID is out of balance to the cost our youth are paying’

Adam Hamdan has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorist charges given temporary residence in Canada

Adam Hamdan had been facing deportation to Jordan, where he holds citizenship through his Palestinian parents

Lumber is shown in the back of a van in this recent image provided by the Saskatoon Police Service. The skyrocketing prices for lumber is fuelling a trend that has authorities across the country warning builders to keep their guard up. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Saskatoon Police Service-Const. Derek Chesney *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘It is a gold mine:’ Builders warned of rising lumber thefts across Canada

Many North American mills curtailed production temporarily earlier in 2020 because of COVID lockdowns

Most Read