‘We have lost our scrapbook of cheese memories’: Local cheese shop IJ Mellis gets hacked by cyber bully
Business director and son of the owner, Rory Mellis has been left, ‘worried and ‘surprised’ after the Instagram account he ran for his family’s cheese business, @mellischeese, was hacked by a cyber bully on Thursday morning.
The business, which has Edinburgh stores in Morningside, Stockbridge and Maturing Rooms in Leith as well as Glasgow and St Andrews branches gained a heavy amount of traffic and trade on the visual platform.
However, Rory found out that the page which had a 15,000 following was hijacked by an anonymous cyber bully under the name ‘Jeff Holland’ on Thursday morning after he received a message from the hacker on WhatsApp.
“He’s still messaging me and now he’s demanding money- it’s been really stressful and worrying.” said Rory.
“It came as a bit of a surprise that someone would target a family-run business in this way, especially so close to Christmas when we heavily rely on our social media outlets to keep our loyal customers updated on our current promotions, opening hours and all things cheese.”
Rory, who has decided not to communicate with the cyber bully, commented that it has been a personal loss for the family as he has been running the ‘scrapbook of cheese memories’ since he was a schoolboy.
He said: "I have spent 8 years building and curating the page since I was 15 years old.
"It was the first real contribution I had made to the family business and is something I was very proud of as I managed to consistently grow our online community.”
"This has also become an integral part of our business as it allows us to communicate with many customers who would otherwise not be able to reach our stores and even more so during the current climate.
"We’ve lost our scrapbook of cheese memories."
Rory reported the hacking to Instagram, however he is currently going through “an extremely lengthy and convoluted process” with the Instagram Customer Care Centre.
He added: “I was told every time to go through this channel of communication to report the hacking after telling them multiple times I had tried and it's not working.”
An Instagram spokesperson has commented that they are currently investigating the case.
The business’ new Instagram has already seen a growth of around eight hundred followers after Rory sent a post about the hijacking story onto the account.
Rory added: “We are extremely lucky to have such a wonderful online community and have really appreciated the support that we have received in the past 24 hours in spreading the word about our new page.
"It may seem like a rather millennial problem to have, especially with so many local businesses struggling during this tough time, but having the ability to communicate with our customer base is extremely important for us especially in the lead up to our busiest time of year.”