Sydney rapper Trent ‘That Kid Kearve’ Pedrana devastated by Instagram hack just months after giving birth to daughter

It was a seemingly innocent text message, but it cost this young couple more than $50,000 and left them struggling to pay their daughter and their mortgage.

A young couple have been left devastated after a hacker hijacked their business and demanded a ransom, leaving them struggling to pay their daughter and their mortgage.

Trent Pedrana and his longtime partner Chloe Jackman, both 25, bought a house in Sydney in April last year. Three months later, they had a baby girl.

Mr Pedrana is best known by his rapper nickname ‘That Kid Kearve’, after the western Sydney man’s music career took off in 2018 when he reached number one on the rap and hip hop charts for iTunes.

The couple thought they would be fine with Mr Pedrana as their sole breadwinner while Chloe took time off from work to look after their new baby.

Then they were caught off guard when their ‘That Kid Kearve’ Instagram page was hacked in September, with the cybercriminal behind the attack demanding money if he wanted it returned.

Six months later, they still couldn’t regain control of the account and it seriously affected their ability to earn income.

“A terrible time, just when I stopped working, we expected more money to come in,” Ms Jackman told news.com.au.

Mr Pedrana agreed, adding: ‘Just before this happened I invested almost $100,000 in a house, it was a bad time for this to happen.’

Mr Pedrana’s music industry had already struggled for the past two years amid the Covid-19 pandemic as he was unable to tour or perform live shows.

During that time, he had shifted to Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, with Instagram being the biggest hit, using the platforms to sell merchandise, promote new songs and earn money from streams.

The rapper isn’t signed to any label or management, which means he relies more on social media than most musicians.

To date, his music has been streamed 60 million times.

With 80,000 followers and a verified blue tick next to his name, Instagram’s absence has been a blow to the young dad.

He estimates the loss at $50,000 over the past six months.

“I haven’t done any shows for two years, I live off my streams and merchandising. I can’t even organize a tour or anything [because of the Instagram hack]it’s $50,000 to $100,000 lost,” he explained.

“I’m still making money [but] can’t do anything else to progress.

Mr Pedrana is stuck in limbo as he cannot sell his merchandise and does not want to release new albums while a third of his social media reach is down.

Text that started it all

The hack started with an innocent-looking text message, he recalls.

Mr. Pedrana knows the exact moment his nightmare began.

“I was waiting for stuff from the post office, they sent me the tracking numbers,” he said.

But the text he received wasn’t really a tracking number, it was a malicious link.

Just a day later, he realized he was logged out of his Instagram page. The password had changed and the phone number had been updated to that of Turkey.

Within hours, the hacker contacted Mr. Pedrana’s family members, demanding $1,500 as a ransom.

“The police have been contacted and Instagram too, we will have the account tomorrow,” his sister told the hacker.

Unfazed, the hacker replied coldly: “I can take it back for sure when you get it… I’m not doing this for the first time.”

Later in the conversation, the cybercriminal bizarrely added, “I’m a good person, actually, you can get along with me.

“But you still curse.

“You make me sad, my only goal is to make money.”

Mr Pedrana’s sister replied: “Find a f*****g job”, to which the Turkish criminal replied: “But it is very difficult to earn money otherwise. What if you live in Turkey [sic] it’s really bad here.

Mr Pedrana never thought of paying the hacker, thinking it would be a fairly quick and painless process to regain control of the account – especially since he was verified on Instagram and he had a working relationship with Meta, which oversees Instagram.

What he found was quite the opposite.

The hacker started posting random photos and private email subscribers to the ‘That Kid Kearve’ account asking to borrow money once they realized the ransom would not be paid.

Mr Pedrana’s supporters rallied and filed so many reports on Instagram that within a day the account had been deactivated over fears it had been compromised.

The account was quickly brought back online and the rapper received a password reset link.

However, in a frustrating twist, Mr. Pedrana received an error message.

“Sorry, we can’t send you a link to reset your password. Please contact Instagram for assistance,” the email read.

Mr. Pedrana has been stuck on this post ever since.

Although they have a good relationship with Facebook’s ad spend team, they told him that they couldn’t help him because it was a different department’s responsibility, for the Instagram department, not for Facebook.

Many attempts to get in touch with Instagram went unanswered.

Six months later, Me Pedrana is still waiting for a resolution.

His partner Ms Jackman said: “We are still trying to contact Instagram to this day as the account is there ready to go. We just need them to send us a password reset link.

News.com.au contacted Meta four days ago but did not even receive a response that the email had been received.

Meta previously said it was crucial to stay vigilant against hackers.

“It’s important for people to understand how to protect their accounts from suspicious activity, which is why we’ve created features that give people the power to manage their experience with our platforms and take action when they see something wrong. suspicious,” he said in a statement.

The steps include enabling two-factor authentication, reporting suspicious accounts, and avoiding phishing, such as not clicking questionable links or responding to strange messages and emails.

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