A Singapore Navy operator-turned-Instagram star’s account got hacked – and there’s a hefty ransom

Claire Teo is a local beauty and fashion social media influencer, with around 20,000 followers on Instagram.
Screenshot / STOMP

Claire Teo, a local social media influencer, is facing a crisis.

Teo, former marine systems operator, shot to fame in 2015 after she was featured on a Ministry of Defence magazine and was noticed for her girl-next-door good looks.

On Sept 20, her Instagram account, @xclarieacaciateo, was hacked into and since then, she says she has been blackmailed through emails.

According to a report by Lianhe Wanbao, she received emails threatening to delete her account if she did not reply within three hours. Half an hour later, she received another email asking her to pay US$300 (S$410) if she wanted to regain ownership of her account. After which, she received yet another email threatening to delete her photos and sell her account.

Teo did not reply to any of these emails and immediately reported the incident to the police and Instagram.

The New Paper reported that according to social media expert Lars Voedisch, this attack may have caused Miss Teo a significant amount of losses, given that influencers with the size of her following can command up to S$400 a post.

Teo also told Wanbao that she suspected the hackers were not local since the emails were sent from overseas, and that the hackers might have obtained her information from her old accounts in Neopets, a virtual pet website, and Tumblr, another social media platform, though she has not logged into the accounts in about 10 years.