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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

One person is dead after a camper van caught fire Thursday morning in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: One person dead after vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park

Investigation into Victoria death in early stages

Darcy Rhodes (left) says his grandfather’s bonsai trees are his ‘babies.’ (Courtesy of Tamara Bond)
Walkers ascend Mount Douglas Park on Sunday, Feb. 7. Visits to Saanich Parks are up 46 per cent compared to pre-pandemic statistics this time last year. (Darrell Wick Photo)
Oak Bay, Saanich parks peak in popularity during pandemic

Oak Bay spent an extra $5,000 on park toilet paper in 2020

Victoria police are searching for a federal offender who is wanted Canada-wide after his statutory release was suspended. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for federal offender wanted Canada-wide

Warrant issued after offender’s statutory release suspended

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly is the final speaker in the Lent speaker series hosted online by Metchosin’s St. Mary’s church in Metchosin. (Black Press Media file photo)
Metchosin church focuses on climate change this Lent season

Speaker series runs Wednesdays to March 31

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk in B.C. after powerful earthquake hits New Zealand: officials

An 8.1-magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Most Read