What to Do if Your Instagram Account is Hacked? (2023 Guide)
Instagram is one of the most important social media platforms for creators, businesses, influencers etc. A lot of effort goes into growing an Instagram account, devising strategies to uplift content, attract likes and followers and make a loyal audience. Losing access to all of this hard work can be discouraging and heartbreaking.
This is why in this article, we will discuss what to do if your Instagram account is hacked. We will discuss the ways in which you can gain access back to your account by using different methods including paid Instagram services to secure your account.
When you can’t get access to your account it will feel like your world has crashed. However, you can’t just lose hope yet. There are some ways from which you can still gain back access to your account. The most important technique to save your account is simple: keep your password strong. If your password is based on information only you hold then it is most likely you would never have to stress about it.
Actions to Take When Your Instagram Has Been Hacked
We will now extensively discuss what to do if your Instagram is hacked. These are the few important steps that can recover your account safely before any big damage.
- Change Password/Phone Number
- Paid Instagram Services
- Two Factor Authentication
- Contact Instagram
Change Password/Phone Number
Consider yourself lucky if you are still logged into your account while it is hacked.
- Quickly change your password in the settings and stay logged in.
- Go to your Google account that is connected with your instagram and change the password to all the accounts of social media attached to it.
- Go to Account Centre and remove the access to other social media accounts
- Furthermore, change your phone number on your instagram account and verify it at once.
In 2021, SocialArks, a Chinese company lost personal data of 400 gb that included private information of 214 million social media influencers and celebrities. The main reason identified was “publicly exposed without password protection or encryption”.
Basically, securing passwords will ensure that you are protected and safe. Make sure that the password that you use includes alphabets, numbers and even special characters. Also make sure that the password you choose is information that you only hold.
Paid Instagram Services
One of the best and quickest ways is to get help from paid Instagram services. These services can ensure that you get your hacked account back in no time. They can provide you with technical support and ensure that your data stays safe.
Two Factor Authentication
One of the best methods to ensure the safety of your account is by using 2FA. Never share the 2FA code with anyone; it should be your sole property. Usually Instagram asks for your email and password but when 2FA is on you will be asked to enter a code. There are two ways to do this as shown in the picture:
- You can authenticate via an authentication app. If you don’t have it then you need to install the app. A code will be sent which you can use to authenticate your account on instagram.
- Another way is to authenticate via SMS. Instagram will send you a code that you need to keep safe. This code will let you enter into your account safely.
If you have lost access to your account then you can’t change your password. After doing what you can from your end it is time to let instagram take over.
With Email Verification
Instagram will send you a message from firstname.lastname@example.org if your email has been changed. Below are the things that you need to do:
- You can request Instagram support on this page. Instagram asks the reason why your account is locked.
- Click on “hacked account” and it will ask you to identify your account.
- After adding either your email or phone number you have to confirm it is you with verification.
- If you can recognise your email in the given information then you can simply add the 4 digit number instagrams end to you on your email. It will log you back into your account.
You have sent an Instagram request to recover your account but they need proof that you are the real owner which is why you to take these steps:
- If your account has no photos then Instagram will send an auto-response email from Meta to secure your account.
- If your account has your photos then Instagram will demand a video of your face.
- For this video, you need to turn your head in different directions and it will send this video for verification.
- This video will not be posted online anywhere and after 30 days will be automatically removed.
Recovery email can actually help in the best way. If you have provided instagram with another authentic email that you use often then this will prove beneficial. Instagram will send a verification code to your recovery email since your original email is hacked.
From there, you can identify that you are the owner. Next step is to change your password and secure your gmail account and instagram from everywhere.
How to Know Your Instagram is Hacked
There are certain times when, in a hurry, we keep on inserting the wrong password or forget turning off caps lock. This is when panic attacks us and we believe a hacker has unfortunately accessed our account. On other hand, sometimes the app itself glitches and turns your app on and off. None of these are actions of a hacker. Below, we will discuss what activities can indicate that your account is being used by someone else and what to do if your instagram account is hacked.
- Lost Access
- Suspicious Emails
- Unrecognizable Posts
- Unusual Activity Besides Your Own: DIRECT MESSAGES
Have you added your correct email with the correct password yet your Instagram still won’t open? If after multiple tries the condition stays the same then your account is most probably hacked. For confirmation, you should confirm the following:
- Go to your Notifications Center and check for any recent notifications about an unusual activity on your account.
- Check your Gmail account. Look for emails containing notifications about a password change. If that is the case then the hacker has taken over your account.
- Check-in with your bank if your account has been linked with one. Any unusual activity can be traced such as usage of your money via your Instagram account.
- Have you connected your Instagram with other social media sites? Take a look at your connected account to ensure if it’s an account that has been hacked or others as well.
Cyber security threats are lethal and unfortunately common. They tend to be dangerous enough to steal identities, credit card information or content that you have worked on for years on Instagram. Many of these are sent unanimously and might look normal.
For instance, In July 2022, hackers with IP addresses in Turkey tried to steal information of users on instagram. They baited them with verification badges and stole their information.
These emails can appear legit just like in this case the emails sent to the victims showed that their accounts have been “deemed eligible” for the verification badge. Your first instinct should be not to open or click such emails in any way. Clicking these emails can ask for your access to an account and many people provided it in the previous case mentioned to earn verification from Instagram. Instead, consider it as a warning and tighten the security of your Instagram account.
Have you been seeing content you have never posted appear on your instagram account? If it is not an app glitch then someone else is controlling your account. This can be dangerous for CEOs, influencers, and politicians because the hacker could aim to tarnish one’s image on the platform.
For a creator or a normal Instagram user, you could be seeing your drafts being posted that can indicate breaching. The seriousness of a professional hacker approaching a public person account is different from small hackers who hack for revenge, fun etc. Upon seeing such an unusual posting you must consider locking up your account and essentially changing passwords everywhere.
Activity On Instagram Beside Your Own: DIRECT MESSAGES
Unusual activity is not only limited to posts on your accounts. It can also include story posting and even direct messages. Hackers can steal your identity and send messages to your followers in order to tarnish your image as an influencer, celebrity, business owner, creator etc. All of this can be a blender for your online presence as followers would drop and your account will function terribly afterwards.
If your friends or a follower lets you know about an inappropriate message that you have never sent then it is a sign that you have been hacked. The first thing you would want to do is let your followers know that a suspicious activity has happened on your account. Why is this important?
It must be your first step because your followers who are not aware of such a breach can blindly trust a hacker as “You”. A hacker can send spam messages to your friends and followers in order to get access to their account as well. This is why you must announce such an activity as soon as possible.
Dangers of Being Hacked on Instagram
Before we go to the section of what to do if your instagram is hacked we need to first understand how hacking can pose danger to us. For this we will discuss following:
- Leak Personal Information
- Hacking You and Your Followers
- Ask for Money for Account Recovery
Leak Personal Information
One of the most dangerous aftermaths of hacking is that the hacked individual’s personal information can get leaked. An instagram account has one’s email, password, phone number, date of birth. If a hacker breaks into one’s account he can access all of this information and use it against the person. SVP at Callsign (Fraud Prevention, Authentication, Intelligence), Stuart Dobbie, verified this by stating,
“Whether you have a lot of followers, your instagram account has your phone number, email etc. If the hacker approaches you, he can access these and utilize this information somewhere else”.
Additionally, the hacker can use the person’s identity for some political and social agenda which can tarnish the image of the victim. Hence, it is important to not take the warnings as a joke and take action before any serious damage takes place.
Hacking You and Your Followers
There are many instances where the hacker gets in direct contact with the victim. It can be a possibility that a hacker is someone you know who can easily get into your account. The hacker might act like someone you know and email you warning signs that someone approached your account. In hysteria, many people end up sharing information with such people so they can get their accounts back.
In 2023, a Winnipeg business owner, lost access to the two accounts she used for her businesses. She was hacked and years of her hard work done on the accounts slipped from her hands. The hacker pretended to be affiliated with Instagram to gain her trust. According to Ami Hart, the hacker also used her personal credentials to scam her followers list which has caused a great loss. He kept her busy as he gave her advice on how to get back into her account while on the other hand he was using the time to hack both of her accounts.
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Ask for Money for Account Recovery
There are hackers who intentionally hack one’s account to blackmail them into giving them money. For instance, in the case of Ami Hart as mentioned before, the hacker asked for $100 and also for her apple gift cards. He confirmed that he is a hacker and is scamming her and her followers after pretending to know her.
In this article, we have extensively explained how hackers threaten users on Instagram and what are suspicious activities of hackers. We have highlighted in detail what to do if your instagram account is hacked. Knowing the basics about cyber threats is important because hackers can hack anyone, not only public figures. This is why we worked on breaking down steps in which you can recover your account so you can make sure it’s safe and secure to use later.