With rising costs hitting Manchester’s hospitality industry hard, one bar manager has a strong warning for other venues after he was recently hacked on Instagram – and held to ransom by the hacker.
After receiving a message from an account that shared mutual friend with his, Neil clicked a link and entered his details thinking that he was replying to Instagram.
He then saw that his account had been blocked, before receiving a number of messages and Whatsapp calls from a hacker who asked for £400 in order to restore the account.
A message from the hacker, sent to Neil’s personal Whatsapp, read: “Hi. I’m sorry. I hacked your account, I’m doing this for money, if you want, I can sell it to you for a small fee.”
Neil Garner, founder of Stockport’s cult favourite cocktail bar, Cherry Jam, told The Manc: “We received a message in late August telling us that we had violated a code and, as the message came from an account with mutual friends and colleagues on Instagram, I stupidly entered my details.
“Our account then got blocked and a few days afterwards I received messages from a hacker, followed by several video calls on WhatsApp from people demanding that we pay them money to get the account back.
“We wrote to Meta and reported the issue, but we have had no reply since.”
Neil continued: “We opted not to pay the hacker, of course, but this has had a massive effect on the business.
“As Instagram is our most important marketing tool, we had gone from 6,500 local followers and supporters to zero overnight. Our sales dropped by a massive 30% the month we lost the account and our ticketed event sales also took a huge hit.
“With rising wage costs, energy bills, cost of living and an unsettled economy this has been a huge hit to our business, we will get through, (we hope), however it has had stopped any plans for growth and made it much more expensive to get the word out about upcoming events and promotions.”
Follow these tips to avoid getting hacked on Instagram:
Always use a very strong password.
Make sure that the phone number and email linked to your account are up to date.
Use Instagram’s two-step authentication and try to use a different email address for each Instagram account that you run.
Ignore “phishing” messages and learn to spot the fake ones. If you get ANY emails, texts or especially DMs including links, err on the side of caution and DO NOT click. Even if they’re from a friend, as they may have been hacked or their account duplicated or claiming to be from Instagram or Facebook. If in ANY doubt, ignore and delete.
Avoid linking Instagram with other social media accounts and other third-party apps where possible.
Follow Cherry Jam’s new Instagram account at @Cherry_Jam_Again for details of forthcoming events – such as themed bottomless brunches and a special recession menu with noughties prices at the Stockport venue.
Feature image – Cherry Jam
Popular London bakery Gail’s to open string of North West cafes next year
Popular craft bakery Gail’s has hinted at plans to open a string of new cafes in the North West next year.
The group, which already has a large number of bakery-cafes in the south of England, has announced it will open its first North West site in Wilmslow in early 2023.
Bosses have also said that ‘further locations in the North West’ will be announced in the new year, adding that all the new bakeries will serve GAIL’s artisan sourdough breads, pastries, sandwiches, and cakes alongside its specialty House Blend coffee.
The news also seems to potentially confirm speculation that the brand is planning a move into Manchester after The Manc shared news of potential plans for a Gail”s opening in the city centre in October.
Having already seen planning documents that suggest the chain is planning to take over the former White Stuff unit on King Street, it now appears that more news on that opening will be coming in 2023 – although it’s hard to say if it will be the first Manchester site to be announced.
The bakery group already has strong ties with Manchester, having run its sister wholesale bakery The Bread Factory in Openshaw since 2017.
Formed in the early 1990s by namesake Gail Mejia, Gail’s began when its eponymous founder decided to bring together the best bakers in London to create bakes for the capitals top chefs and restaurants.
Today, is known more as a customer-facing cafe and bakery whilst The Bread Factory continues the original wholesale legacy – supplying high quality, artisan breads to some of the region’s top local restaurants.
Gail’s first cafe opened on Hampstead High Street in 2005, and now the brand has 79 in neighbourhoods in and around London, Oxford, Brighton and more.
Turning back the clock on industrialised baking practices and moving to bake bread as it used to be baked: by hand, using quality ingredients and time-worn artisanal methods, Gail’s soon established a name for itself and has come a long way since those early days.
Still, the stuff that matters – the ethos, the suppliers, the skill and a handful of tried-and-tested sourdough starter cultures – hasn’t changed.
A champion for sustainability, the bakery also prides itself on minimising food waste by carefully setting aside any leftover food and donating it to a selection of local charities in each eatery’s neighbourhood
On Twitter, someone said: “I wouldn’t mind knowing where he is either he’s [flame emoji].”
In all serious though, Humberside Police said of Robert Rimmer: “If you see him, or know where he is, please do not approach him but instead call us immediately on our non-emergency 101 line quoting investigation reference 20900368291.
“If you would prefer to report information anonymously you can do so via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”