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Monday 19th August 2019

Simona Halep's Instagram account hacked in bid to scam millions from followers

Messages were posted on the Wimbledon champion's Stories

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep's Instagram was reportedly hacked and used to attempt to scam millions of pounds from her followers.

The 27-year-old, who thrashed Serena Williams to the be crowned winner of the women's final just weeks ago, had her account hacked and Instagram Stories flooded with bizarre demands for money from fans.

Someone wrote, via her account: "Hey, can someone please help me out? I am stuck in Switzerland and my bank account is not working here. In need of $500 (£400) willing to return $1500 (£1,200) by the weekend.

Simona won the Wimbledon women's final this summer (Credit: Ana M Wiggins / SplashNews.com)

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"I have a Zelle account! Venmo is not working here for some reason. Pls stop asking can I take Venmo... this is so embarrassing!"

Zelle and Venmo are similar wire transfer services to PayPal and are common payment methods used by digital scammers.

The stories continued to get even stranger, as the fake user admitted the account had been "hacked" and offered free iPhones to followers.

Please ignore the hackers who are having fun on my Instagram account

A story included: "I was hacked, so for all my loyal fans helping me! Free iPhone X's! Swipe up on the next story! Hurry only a few left."

Simona, clearly aware of the hoax, pleaded with her Twitter followers to ignore her hacked Instagram account.

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And within hours she posted another post saying the situation had been "cleaned up" - presumably indicating that she had regained control of her Instagram account.

Unfortunately, Instagram is a common place for hackers to attempt to extort money from both individual accounts and their followers.

Last week, US reality star Shep Rose had his account attacked and a very similar situation played out on his Instagram Stories.

The 39-year-old, of Southern Charm fame, had his account taken over by scammers that posted: "If anyone can lend me $500 I am willing to pay back $1500 Saturday.

"I am in California, stuck, my bank is on hold and I have no gas or anything… Anyone that can help please message me, I have Cash app and Zelle…"

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