A hacked Instagram account is a very scary scenario for any user. Getting an email from Instagram that an account has been hacked can be particularly destructive to influencers who have made full time careers out of their social media accounts. Their personal brand, followers they’ve worked hard to gain, and hundreds of memorable photos could be at stake.
Although Instagram hacking is a growing problem, they don't always provide an easy solution. To recover your account, you have to go through their lengthy support system or send them an email. To influencers and celebrities, protecting your social media account is equally as important to a company protecting a advertising spend.
How do Instagram accounts get hacked? Start here with the basics on keeping Insta hackers out:
How Instagram’s Process Works
Instagram points you to its self-service help center. Currently, this is the only way to contact Instagram’s customer service for help with anything related to hacked accounts.
As it turns out, Instagram’s account recovery instructions don’t always work. Since there’s no phone number to call Instagram support, you’ll have to submit a support ticket through each categorized form for support requests – depending on your needs.
Their help center sends you through many different options you can take to recover your hacked account including submitting tickets. However the hardest part can be getting a real person to read the tickets quickly.
Multiple victims have reported difficulty contacting Instagram support to report a hack. After finding themselves stuck in a loop talking to help center bots, some victims even resorted to hiring white hatters (hackers that do good) to regain access to their accounts.
Others paid their hackers hundreds of dollars in ransom money (usually in Bitcoin or similar) to get their accounts back. Neither of these scenarios would be necessary if Instagram had a reliable procedure for hacked accounts. Sometimes the entire help center process can go smoothly, until the last step when Instagram automatically sends the verification code to the very hackers that stole the account.
Lately, Instagram has added more advanced ways to verify your identity to the support team and regain control of your Instagram profile.
Signs You’ve Been Hacked
Here are a few telltale signs that someone has access to your account.
1. The Email Associated with the Account Has Been Changed
If you received an email or text message from Instagram saying the information associated with your account has been changed, you may be able to revert the change quickly. If not, you’ll need to contact Instagram support and begin their procedure for hacked accounts. This form helps users gain back their hacked Instagram account usually within a day.
2. You No Longer Have Access to Your Account
When you try to login, you can’t access your account. Instagram says your username, email, or password is incorrect, but you’re certain it’s not. Someone has maliciously accessed your account and changed your login information.
3. Instagram Sends an Alert
When Instagram detects suspicious login activity or remote login attempts, they will send a push notification to the email or device. If you catch it in time, you can deny suspicious logins with your device and should immediately update your account’s security.
4. Your Account is Posting or Liking Images You Don’t Know
If your account is engaging in suspicious activity you didn’t initiate, someone may have access to your account. This can range from random followings, posts, or likes that were not done by you.
How to Avoid Being Hacked
Use these tips to further protect your Instagram account:
1. Don’t Use Your Login on Other Sites
Don’t use your Instagram log in for anything other than your actual Instagram account. Be careful when authorizing third-party apps. Watch out for spoofed domains or phishing schemes that might be lingering in your DM's. TIP: It always helps to look for the Meta (formerly Facebook) logo to ensure the integration.
2. Keep Your Password Confidential
It’s simple, never give your password or login information to anyone you don’t trust.
3. Change Your Password Often
Like any account, changing passwords (and updating privacy settings) frequently is an easy way to stay on top of security. Passwords should all be different from any other passwords you use elsewhere. When it comes to your Instagram account, make sure you have a strong password including numbers, letters, and symbols.
4. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Instagram’s Two-Factor Authentication can add an extra layer of protection. But beware; it’s not completely foolproof. Even with two-factor authentication, your Instagram is still at risk of being hacked if they change your contact information. In other words, two-factor authentication and third-party authenticator apps won’t be able to help with some hacked accounts.
Having your Instagram hacked is out of your control, use these simple steps to keep your account safe. Use these tips as a cautionary guide to protect your Instagram and other social media accounts from hackers.