A common question we get from social media users is, why did my Instagram got hacked? Many of us have been using Instagram and other social media platforms for years, and there are a lot of memories and data there that we don’t want to lose, be it personal or business.
So, we know how serious it is if you’re locked out of your Instagram account due to a hacking attack. Get the correct methods below to increase your chances of recovering your hacked Instagram account.
What Happens If Your IG Account Gets Hacked?
When your Instagram account is hacked, you can’t log in to your Instagram account. Moreover, you can’t recover the account because the hacker has most probably changed your phone number, email address, and username.
The username change is a serious blow because they already changed your email address and phone, and if the username is changed, you have no way to find your account let alone access it.
If you suspect that your Instagram account is hacked but you can still access your account, change your password and email address ASAP.
5 Things You Can Do If Your Instagram Account Has Been Hacked (For iPhone and Android Devices)
Every second counts when it comes to recovering hacked social media profiles. The below methods are for iPhone, iPad, and Android users. However, they are also applicable to desktop users (Windows, Mac, and Linux) as the steps are similar.
- If Your Instagram Password is Changed, Recover with Your Email and Phone Number
- Reverse the Email Change Request When a Hacker Changes Your Account Information
- I Can’t Find My Instagram Account Because My Username, Email, and Phone Number is Changed.
- Verify Your Identity
- Contact Instagram Support and Report Your Hacked Instagram Account
1. If Your Instagram Password is Changed, Recover with Your Email and Phone Number
If you’re lucky and the only thing changed on your Instagram account is your password, or if you forgot your password, the recovery process is easy. Or, if you’re not sure which details of your Instagram account have been changed, try this method first.
You can request a login link from Instagram by using your email address or phone number on the Instagram app or Instagram web version. Follow these steps:
- Open the Instagram app and tap ‘Login’ at the bottom.
- Tap Get help logging in (Android) or ‘Forgot password’ on iPhone and web version to initiate Instagram account recovery.
- Type your username, email address, or phone number to find your Instagram account on the next screen. (If you can’t remember your details, tap ‘Need more help’ at the bottom of the screen and follow the instructions.)
- You’ll have the option to use your email or phone number to set a new password. Select the one that you have access to. Moreover, if you used Facebook to sign up on Instagram, you’ll also see the option to ‘Login with Facebook’.
- If you select email or phone, it will send a login link as an email or text message. Open that email or SMS, and follow the on-screen instructions to create a new password.
- In case you selected ‘Login with Facebook’, it will automatically detect the login details from Facebook and sign you in (if you’re already logged in to Facebook).
2. Reverse the Email Change Request When a Hacker Changes Your Account Information
Instagram has this security system in place to stop hackers from getting access to your account. When hackers hack an account, they change the contact information associated with the Instagram account so you are completely locked out of your account and have no option to recover it.
So, when a hacker changes the email address of your Instagram account, you get an email on your email address (the one the hacker is trying to change) about the email account change request. It also provides a link to reverse this process. Use the link to recover your Instagram account.
Note: This method won’t work if the hacker has already changed your password and other details. But you should try this method nonetheless.
3. I Can’t Find My Instagram Account Because My Username, Email, and Phone Number is Changed
Once hackers hack into your account, they change your username other than changing your email address and phone number information on the account. Because of this, finding your account would be difficult. And if you can’t find your account, you have limited options.
- Check your email if you have received an email from Instagram about the recent change of your Instagram credentials. If you do, you can follow the link in that email to reverse the changes.
- Ask a friend of yours who is following you to check your account and send you the changed username shown on your account. If you have another Instagram account, you can do this yourself as well. Once your post-hack username is known, you can verify your identity to recover your account by following Methods 4 and 5.
4. Verify Your Identity
If your account password changed, your email and mobile number were changed, and you didn’t receive any email regarding the change of your contact details, you are left with the only option to verify your identity for recovering your Instagram account.
Your Instagram profile verification is only possible if you posted at least one photo of yourself on Instagram (even if you made it private later). Go ahead with the below procedure if you have a photo of yourself on your IG profile. If you don’t have any, go to Method 5.
To verify your identity, you’ll be asked to take a video selfie of yours where you will slowly turn your head in different directions. You’ll also be asked to provide a new email address so that Instagram can reach you for verification updates.
The video selfie won’t be visible on your profile and Instagram claims that they delete it within 30 days.
Moreover, if you can’t confirm your identity on the first try, you can submit a video selfie again.
Follow these steps:
- Open the Instagram app and tap ‘Login’ at the bottom of the screen.
- On the login screen, select ‘Get help logging in’ on Android and ‘Forgot Password’ on iPhone and the web version.
- Type your username to find your Instagram account.
- On the next screen, select ‘Need more help’.
- You’ll be shown emails and phone numbers that you can use to recover your account. If the hacker has changed your login information, tap ‘Try another way’ at the bottom of the screen.
- On the ‘Request Support’ page, choose ‘My account was hacked.
- Now, select ‘Yes, I have a photo of myself in my account’.
- Enter a new email address so Instagram can reach you.
- You’ll be directed to the ‘Take a video selfie’ page. Click ‘Next’ to send Instagram your videos selfie. Make sure that you’re in a well-lit environment.
5. Contact Instagram Support and Report Your Hacked Instagram Account
If nothing is working, your last resort is to reach Instagram support. You can contact Instagram support directly to notify them about your hacked account, but there is no guarantee that you’ll get a reply.
You should use this method if your Instagram account doesn’t have any photos of you and the identity verification process failed or didn’t work due to this.
Things you should include when mailing Instagram support about your hacked account:
- The email address you signed up on Instagram with.
- All the phone numbers that are associated with your Instagram account.
- The type of device you used while signing up. (For example; Android, iPhone, iPad, etc.)
- Other information like your username, last login, and the device used for the last log in, etc.
Provide as many details as possible because the support doesn’t reply to emails with incomplete information.
A. Instagram Support Phone Number
Instagram has a phone number +1 650-543-4800, but you can’t reach any support representative there. A bot would direct you to the Instagram Help Center.
B. Contact Instagram Through Email
Instagram doesn’t provide induvial email addresses for different purposes. The only Instagram support email is firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no telling about the response time of Instagram’s support team, but users reported that the first response (if ever) is received within 48 hours. The response depends on how well you explained things to them and provided complete information.
C. Contact Support from the Instagram App
You can report a bug from the Instagram app and let them know about your hacked account. For this, you need to be logged into the Instagram app using an Android or iOS device. You can ask any of your friends to do this for you from their Instagram profiles.
- Open the Instagram app and log in with another account or use a friend’s account.
- Tap the account’s profile picture at the bottom right of the screen.
- Select the three horizontal lines at the top right and choose ‘Settings’ from the list.
- Pick ‘Help’ from Settings.
- Choose ‘Report a Problem.’ It will show you a popup with a few options. Select ‘Report a Problem’ from it again.
- You’ll be taken to a page where you can type and send them the problem you’re having. Make sure to include every information you know about your hacked account so it becomes easier for the support team to figure out and provide you with the best solutions.
D. Report Using a Web Browser on Your Computer
Similar to the above method, you can contact support for bugs from the web version.
- Open your web browser, visit Instagram, and log in with your secondary account or your friend’s account.
- Click the profile picture at the top right corner.
- Select ‘Profile.’
- When you’re on the profile, select the Settings icon next to the username.
- A list will be shown. Pick ‘Report a problem’ from it.
- Type and explain that your account is hacked and you don’t have a picture of yourself in the account. Please include the information we listed at the start of this section.
A Hacker Deleted My Instagram Account. Can I Recover It?
Once they hacked your account, most hackers use it to scam other people or ask for ransom (more on this in the next section), but in many cases, they might delete all your posts or delete your account entirely.
The chances of recovering a deleted Instagram account are thin. Instagram claims that it keeps your data for 30 days after the deletion. In this time frame, if you contact Instagram support with Method 4 or 5 above, there is a slight chance of recovery. But if it’s already been 30 days, then your Instagram account is likely gone.
In this case, you have to bite the bullet and create a new account. Start with a post notifying your followers/customers about the hacked account and announcing that this will be your new profile. Follow the below sections to avoid Instagram account hacks.
Can Someone Hack Your Instagram from the DM or Email? How Do Hackers Hack Accounts?
Yes, the popular method of hackers to hack Instagram accounts is through DM and email. Some or all of these methods can be used for identity theft. Some methods hackers use are:
- Hacker Posing as a Friend (Whose Account is Also Hacked)
- Scariest Method: Hackers Hacking Your Instagram Account by Sending You a Phishing Link
- Hackers Fooling Influencers and Business Owners by Posing as Instagram Technical Support
1. Hacker Posing as a Friend (Whose Account is Also Hacked)
Jill has an Instagram account that has a decent following. She receives a DM from a hacker posing as a friend of hers that they lost access to their account and Jill should send them a link so they can log in again. Jill agrees, not knowing that her account is about to be hacked.
The hacker uses Jill’s account recovery option to send an email with the login link and tells her to send the link. She opens her email and sends the link. Here, Jill is handing over her account to the hacker without knowing. Once the hacker receives the login link, they change the password, email, phone number, and username of Jill’s account, locking her out of her Instagram account.
After hacking the account, the hacker may demand ransom money (Bitcoin payment), post phishing links from the account, or use the same method to hack the accounts of Jill’s friends as well. The hacker might also sell your account on the dark web.
In case of ransom, even if the amount is paid, the chances of retrieving the Instagram account are 50/50. The hacker might give back the account or keep asking for more money and never give access back to the account.
2. Scariest Method: Hackers Hacking Your Instagram Account by Sending You a Phishing Link
Sending phishing links is a hacking technique. In it, the hacker creates a website identical to (in this case) Instagram. Anything typed on that fake website is saved for the hackers to use.
Now, the hackers will send an email about anything you’d be interested in or DM you or share the phishing links from an Instagram profile they have already hacked. Sometimes the posts are about making money from Bitcoin. Youu will be asked to enter your login detail when you click the links.
You log in because the website looks similar to Instagram or any other authentic website. With this, your login information is saved with the hackers. They use it to hack your account and change your username, phone number, and email address.
3. Hackers Fooling Influencers and Business Owners by Posing as Instagram Technical Support
The Instagram accounts of influencers and businesses are even more susceptible to hackers’ attacks and security breaches. Some hackers act as Instagram support or a local authority to scam influencers by saying that the influencer has done a copyright violation or they want to give them the verified badge.
They will provide a phishing link to log in and follow the instructions. Once the influencer uses the login link, their account is hacked. It again leads to ransom, scamming followers of that account with Bitcoin-related or any other posts with phishing links, or any other illegal method to fool and hack the accounts of more people.
What You Should Do If You Detect Suspicious Activity on Your Instagram Profile
How do detect suspicious activity? If you find that your Instagram account is posting spammy posts without your authorization, your account may be hacked. Another red flag is finding that your DM is filled with chats that you don’t know of. Sometimes, you also receive an email from Instagram if someone logs in from a different location or a different device.
To save your Instagram account, act immediately and change your password. Moreover, delete the posts that the hacker or their bot has posted from your profile so other people don’t fall into these phishing scams as well. After this, change your email address.
How To Protect Your Instagram Account to Prevent Hacking?
Whether you recovered your Instagram account or couldn’t retrieve it and created a new account, you need to take steps to prevent hacking of your Instagram account. Use these steps to make sure your account is secure and remains secure.
- Set a Strong Password
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication
- Check Your Login Activity
- Don’t Use the Same Password for All or Most Accounts
- Don’t Open Links in a Suspicious Email or DM
- Limit the Number of Apps and Website Connected to Your Account
1. Set a Strong Password
The easiest method to hack an Instagram account is trying commonly used passwords with a tool. Create a strong password that includes upper-case and lower-case alphabets, letters, and symbols to protect your account.
2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
With two-factor authentication, you can only log in to your account when you enter the security code sent to your phone number.
3. Check Your Login Activity
Regularly checking your login activity is vital for influencers and business accounts because they are targeted more frequently by hackers. You can stop and reverse a hacker’s attack if you spot any logins from unknown devices. To check your login activity:
- On the Instagram app and tap your profile picture.
- Select the three horizontal lines.
- Go to ‘Settings’.
- Choose ‘Login Activity’.
4. Don’t Use the Same Password for All or Most Accounts
When hackers find out your password, they use it on other accounts of yours to hack those as well. This technique is called credential stuffing. And if you used the same password for most of your accounts, the hackers will be successful. Always create unique passwords for every account so that if one gets hacked, the others stay safe.
5. Don’t Open Links in a Suspicious Email or DM
As explained before, criminal hackers use phishing sites to hack your Instagram account. To keep your account secure, don’t open links from strangers. If you have to open a link, read the hyperlink and confirm it’s a simple website.
Moreover, hackers also use one hacked account to send phishing links to that account’s followers. So, be careful if any of your friends start sending weird links and notify them through another medium (text message, WhatsApp, or Messenger).
6. Limit the Number of Apps and Website Connected to Your Account
Some third-party apps let hackers hack your Instagram account. This is why you should regularly check your account, block suspicious third-party apps, and only connect your account with authentic apps.
If you don’t want to lose your Instagram account, don’t waste time and use the methods mentioned above to recover it. Moreover, use the security tips to keep your account secure.