“There’s nothing I can do anymore. Now, it’s just a matter of waiting.”
So says Springbok rugby player Duane Vermeulen, who recently fell victim to hackers taking control of his email, PayPal and social-media accounts. The hackers have threatened that “things will get much worse” if he doesn’t pay them R8 000.
The Bok eighthman has done everything within his power to thwart the hackers.
He says his problems started after he received an email ostensibly sent by Instagram. The email contained a link and he was asked to change his Instagram status from user to founder.
When Duane clicked on the link, he was redirected to an odd-looking website.
He immediately tried closing the window but soon realised the damage was
The hackers found his ID number and gained access to his Instagram, Twitter, PayPal and email accounts.
They tried to his PayPal account to make online purchases but Duane’s wife, Ezél, managed to block the transactions.
He then received a threat on WhatsApp: “If you block me, everything will get worse.”
Since then, Duane has called in the help of forensic experts. He’s had
to set up a new Instagram account, which now has just 8 500 new
followers. His old account had more than 130 000 followers.
“It’s bad for me because you lose the commercial value of your number of followers. It affects especially sponsorships,” he says.
“I can only hope I can get my old account back.”
Duane has notified Instagram of the incident and is waiting for feedback.
“I haven’t heard anything from the hackers again. So now I wait.”