What To Do If Your Instagram Account Was Hacked (Complete Guide)

The truth is that if you’ve not heard of Instagram, you are probably living somewhere outside the solar system. Just like Facebook Instagram stands a social media that have allowed me share my thoughts, and engagement outside my work schedules. In case you are not following me on social media, it’s my breeding place for inspiration and opportunities.

This picture below shows a work on Instagram, by a leading event management firm in Nigeria(on Instagram)

It is very crucial to note that the huge network you have today can be messed with, in time to come. Just recently, a friend of mine posted her annoying response by Instagram support, in her bid to recover her hacked Instagram account.

But to start with; Instagram account, like every other social profile can be face with lots of login issues.

Her Painful experience with Instagram Support

It was surprising that Instagram was slow and unhelpful at the beginning, oftentimes not understanding the issue at hand. It took 4 and a half days before I got a reply that made me think I’m not close to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

They made me write a code, my full name, email address and previous username on a piece of paper, then take a picture of that with me holding it. It sounded weird but I understood that it’s how they could really verify me and my claims.

Instagram support replied after a couple of hours saying my account has been reactivated again. Whew! Problem finally solved right? No!

I still couldn’t login, couldn’t reset password since the email was still not associated to any account and I couldn’t do anything! I emailed them back with that and they replied with almost just the same message which is ‘we have reactivated your account again, sorry about that’. But I still couldn’t login!!!

Much to my dismay I discovered that the account ‘janaehumbert99ft’ has been reactivated again and my friends started telling me that they’re seeing my photos under someone else’s account. Two things became clear to me then.

First was the ‘janaehumbert99ft’ account is really my previous Instagram account. It was just renamed but that’s my account. Remember at the beginning that I was under the impression my original account was swapped out and deleted but it didn’t seem to be the case.

Second was they simply reactivated the account using the same credentials, same email which I didn’t have access with! WTF!!! I got so pissed off because that only makes the hacker do more harm since the account has been reactivated again and more importantly, he can access it again. I was under his mercy basically as he can rename it, change the email and make it untraceable, or worse, start posting nude pictures or what have you and start alienating my followers! So stupid Instagram!

I sent successive replies explaining what I explained above but I did not get a reply on the same and the following day. I got a little worried that I might not be doing myself a favor as I might come across as annoying to whoever is handling my case.

I’ve decided to then just write a new report using the page I linked above. There I explained everything again carefully and made sure it didn’t become too long. It’s a little risky since I thought that could essentially restart my case again and then add up another week to it. Urgghh!

When I was explaining, I mentioned briefly that someone was already handling my case but I was not happy with how it’s being handled. I gave the supporter’s name so the new supporter can hopefully coordinate with him. I still summarized my case in my report and included my realizations that were not there the first time I reported the issue. I tried my best to keep everything not too long but still clear.

After more than 12 hours, a new support person from Instagram replied and much to my delight, it was the reply I was expecting to get from their previous support person. I finally got a link where I can change the password of the account and once I’m able to do that, I proceeded with changing the email back to one that I can access and then swapping back my own details like my username, description and website. Finally I changed the profile picture from the fat girl’s butt to my pretty face. I can’t believe I have my Instagram account back again!

What happened next was I unfollowed a lot of people since the hacker’s strategy seemed to be following lots of male accounts and then get  them to follow back or click the suspicious bio link that could get them hacked. I got a minor boost in followers count which subsided down once they realized they’re following an account that was not what they thought it would be.

What to learn from this

There’s plenty to learn from this experience and all of them are unfortunately very basic which we just ignore until we become a victim. I changed all my passwords to a more secure one, enabled two-factor authentication whenever available, and made sure I’m aware what accounts are connected to what emails.

The funny but slightly annoying thing is I could’ve easily just gotten my account back had I not logged out of it on my phone. I could’ve gotten into the settings, changed my password, email and bio and I didn’t have to go through the whole draining process at all.

But if that happened, I’m pretty sure there’s a good chance I won’t change my passwords, make my email addresses more secure, you name them! I would then just be delaying the inevitable.

Not sure I can say right now the learning experience was worth it but hey, my accounts are more secure now, I have my IG back and that’s all that matters!

Credit: melvinblog

How do you get your Instagram back, once you’ve been hacked?

I have the username, but not the password or recovery email, because they changed it.

Things You Can Try Out If Your Account Is Hacked 

I even suggest you do this more often, but for the sake of authentication and memory, keep a very hard credential and desist from linking your account to non-trusted sites. To recover your account, this is what you must first tryout:

  1. Go to This Website
  2. Then Enter your Username or your Registered email id.
  3. Click Recover Account.

With so many people using Instagram to share such personal data, it’s no wonder hackers are interested in gaining control of Instagram user accounts.

You may have noticed random photos that appeared on your account, or a lot of new, unknown people, that you’re following all of a sudden. Maybe you are unable to log in to your account.

If you suspect your Instagram account has been hacked, here’s what you should do:

1. If Your Instagram Was Hacked, There’s A Good Chance Your Email Was Too.

Start by using this free tool to find exposed passwords, credit card, bank and social security numbers in your email account.

The tool will keep you safe by removing any and all private data putting you at risk for credit card and identity theft. So if hackers hack your inbox, they won’t find what they’re looking for, and you’ll be protected.

it also allows you to notify friends who sent or received the risky email, and ask them to delete the thread. Once you’ve managed your email, you can now deal with your Instagram hack.

2. Report The Incident To Instagram

If you can’t get into your Instagram account but you still have access to the email account associated with it, reset your Instagram password.

a. Click on “Forgot” at the home page.

Instagram Login Window
b. Then enter your email address to reset the password.

Instagram Reset Password

b. If you don’t have access to your email account, report the incident to Instagram as soon as possible through this link.

Instagram Report a Hacked Account
 

c. Fill out the form.

Instagram Report a Hacked Account Form

Indicate on the form that you no longer have access to your email account and provide an alternate email account that you do have access to.

If you do have access to the email account associated with your Instagram, that’s great news.

See the following suggestions for steps you should take to regain control over your account.

3. Change Your Password

Change your Instagram password using the Edit Profile option in Instagram.

To get there, log in and click your username at the top right corner of the page.

Instagram Edit Profile

Then, click “Edit Profile.” On the page that appears, look for the Change Password option on the left-side menu.

Instagram Edit Profile Form

Make sure you choose a strong password that meets these guidelines:

  • Is at least 6 characters long (but the longer the better!)
  • Contains lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and a digit. For more security, add a special character like an exclamation mark or question mark
  • Is not a dictionary word
  • Is not based on personal information like your date of birth, spouse’s name, etc.

4. Change Your Password On Other Accounts If You’ve Used The Same One

If you are reusing your Instagram password on other sites such as Gmail or iCloud, change your password on those services too. You don’t want your Facebook account hacked as well as your other accounts.

Attackers often use password reuse (an ill-advised but common practice) to gain access to their victims’ other accounts!

5. Secure The Email Account Associated With Your Instagram Account

Hackers often gain access to social media accounts after first hacking into victims’ email accounts.

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Logo
Because of this, you should make sure you’re using all protective measures available to you to keep your email account safe.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Make sure you’re using a strong password with your email account (see suggested guidelines for creating a strong password above)
  • Use LogDog — it’s a free app that monitors your account for any suspicious activities, and alerts you if it detects anything iffy so you can quickly thwart any hacking attempts.
    The service can be used across all devices and OS’s, so you’re always being protected. Here’s the Android and iOS  links for you to check out

 

6. Revoke Access To Suspicious Third-Party Apps

Check out which third-party apps have access to your Instagram account, and revoke access from any app that looks suspicious.
To do this, go to your Account page and click on “Manage Applications” from the left-side menu.

Instagram Manage Applications
 

To revoke access from any app, simply click the “Revoke Access” button to the right of the app listing.

Instagram Authorized Applications

Want to go the extra mile?

Revoke all apps from accessing your account and re-enable access later, after you believe the hacking incident has been resolved.

This way, if an attacker is accessing your Instagram account via one of these other apps, he’ll immediately get shut out when you revoke access of these apps to Instagram.

Note: Giving access to apps again in the future may again grant the hacker access to your Instagram account.

Therefore, it’s recommended to grant access to apps slowly (one at a time), to help you identify the specific app the hacker is using.

7. Review Your Recent Activity

Go over your Instagram feed and make sure there haven’t been any pictures or comments posted that you’re unaware of.

Any activity you don’t recognize as your own — especially posts containing links to other websites — should be considered extremely suspicious.

If you see anything suspicious, remove it right away, especially since it may endanger your followers.

Here’s what you do:

a. To remove a post, tap on the post and click “Delete”

Delete Instagram Picture
b. Let your followers know that your account has been hacked and that they should be vigilant of any suspicious activities

Hackers often use one compromised social media account as a stepping stone to hijack friends’ accounts.

8. Log Out Of Instagram When You Use A Computer Or Phone You Share With Other People

This is a general security tip:

You should always log out of Instagram (and any other personal account) when you use a device shared with other people (like a computer at an internet café or library, or a phone that you’re borrowing).

Instagram Log Out
If you don’t log out, you’re basically giving any third-party the keys to your account — not a good idea!

For more tips, check out Instagram’s official guide here.

Valentine
Connect @

Valentine

Founder at WeUseNaira Blog
Val is a passionate blogger, digital marketer and a pro web developer. He's a tech enthusiast, lover of craft and Freelance coach +2348066538123
Valentine
Connect @

About the author

Valentine

Val is a passionate blogger, digital marketer and a pro web developer. He's a tech enthusiast, lover of craft and Freelance coach +2348066538123

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