On Monday night the unthinkable happened. My Instagram account was hacked.
(If your account has been hacked, scroll down to see how I got my account back)
Whilst I was in the app, I was thrown out and after trying repeatedly to log back in, my username, email address, password and mobile number were changed immediately and I had lost all access. I phoned my sister to ask her to try and look at my profile and see what was going on and she told me my username had been changed and it was clear I’d been hacked. She let me know what the username had been changed to so I found the profile and could see my account, with the photos still there, my profile picture still the same, but my bio had been removed and of course a different username.
This is what it looked like after being hacked:
My first thoughts were ‘OH MY EFFING GOD!! WHY???????’
Normally when someone attempts to log in to your account or if you change your contact details, Instagram will email you to notify you of what has happened. In my case, I received zero emails. Well done Instagram… where’s your security at?
Nothing like this has ever happened to me before and it’s not like I have tens of thousands of followers so why have I been targeted? The most annoying thing is, I will probably never find out why and I’ll just have to accept it and move on. But I wanted to try everything I could to get my account back. As a blogger, it’s not easy to grow your account. It takes years to build up a loyal audience that you can engage with and have built relationships with and it upset me to know that all of my efforts had gone down the drain.
My guess as to why Instagram accounts get hacked is that people are trying to steal your personal information (contact details) or they want an account with a good amount of followers that they can wipe clean and start from scratch with a decent sized audience already there for them. People will do this so they can sell the accounts on or use the account for themselves.
Sometimes hackers get into your account and delete it completely. I really don’t know why someone would do this other than they are jealous of you and want you to lose your account and have just done it to be a d*ck.
After seeing I’d been hacked, here’s what I did:
I am currently managing a friends social media account, so I reported ‘my’ account as spam – this account is pretending to be me or someone I know (or something of very similar wording) and this sent a report to Instagram. I know it’s almost impossible to get in touch with Instagram so I didn’t expect to hear back or for this to be resolved so I looked for other ways to get help. Instagrams help page was next to useless and gave me no advice whatsoever as all my information had been changed and I had completely lost access due to the hacker. Then I found BecBoop’s post explaining the steps she took when her Instagram account got hacked and some tips on how to remain calm when this happens. Lifesaver!
After several attempts of trying to get to the ‘need help logging in’ button, I finally found it. As all my information had been changed, I couldn’t enter my mobile number or email to change my password, so I had to file a report. I explained what had happened and that I think I’m a target because I’m a blogger etc…
Instagram had 24 hours to get back to me, and as this happened at around 10 pm, you can bet I was checking my emails constantly throughout the night to see if they had contacted me. When they finally did the next day, they asked me to write a code on a piece of paper with my full name and username and take a photo of me holding it with my face in full view.
Looking absolutely hideous I did this immediately and waited anxiously to see what would happen next.
I then received this message:
I clicked the link and yes!!!!!! I could bet back in! I changed my username back to what it was and also changed my mobile number and email address back to what it should be, and by doing this I could see the current email address that was sitting there – ‘email@example.com’ – this was, of course, the hacker’s email. So whoever you are, firstname.lastname@example.org – you’re a complete and utter d*ck and I hope you have bad luck forever 🙂 I’ve thought about emailing this account but what’s the point? I have my account back now and that’s really all I care about.
If your Instagram account has been hacked and you have lost all access as I did, here’s what you need to do:
- Find the need help logging in button from the login page (it didn’t display for me straight away so you may have to attempt to log in several times/click forgot password etc… until you can get access to this button)
- Explain in as much detail as possible what has happened and also when if possible so Instagram can deal with the matter as soon as possible without having to require further information
- Check your emails regularly (and your spam) to look out for Instagram’s email which should ask you to provide photo verification that the account is yours
- Try not to panic. When your account is hacked, the biggest worry is that the hacker is either using it to contact people pretending to be you or that they are going to delete your account altogether. No good can come from panicking, the matter is out of your hands now and you’ve taken all the steps you can to rectify the situation
- Notify your audience/friends on your other social media channels, so if your account is being used to contact others as you, then people will know that it’s not you
- Sit and wait until you can regain access and keep your fingers crossed
If you’re lucky like I was and manage to regain access, remember to pick a SUPER secure password and turn on two-factor authentication!
Has your Instagram account ever been hacked? If so do you have any tips on your experience to help others?