Whether you have a few hundred or thousands of followers, getting your Instagram account hacked is horrible.
You feel panicked, upset, and often left feeling helpless wondering what you’re supposed to do next.
It doesn’t make the situation better that the Instagram Help System is not actually designed to help much in these situations.
After my account got hacked I spent hours reading through every Help Page that I could find just to feel like I was stuck in an endless loop of useless information.
After going through the process myself and trying just about anything to recover my hacked account, I have highlighted all the steps you can take to get your hacked Instagram account back and some tips on what you can do to prevent hacks from happening to you in the future:
- Reverse The Hack Through Email
- Save Your Username
- Report The Hack To Instagram
- Find A Friend Who Works at Instagram Or Facebook
- Report The Hack Through Facebook Ads Chat
- Set Up Two-Factor Authentication
- Investigate Emailed Links
- Only Log In From The Instagram App
- Don’t Share Your Login With Third Parties
How I Got Hacked
I will never forget that night. I was about to head out to dinner with friends when I got a notification on my phone for an incoming email. Not thinking much of it, I opened the email to read this:
At first, I thought it was spam or some joke. Who and why would someone try to hack my account? But sure enough, as soon as I opened the Instagram app and tried to log in, I got an error message.
I immediately tried to look up my account @vagablonde_laura through my husband’s page and it just simply wasn’t there anymore. The realization started fully setting in – my account really has been hacked.
I was puzzled about how that had happened but then I remembered that earlier that day I had received an email from a swimsuit company saying that they wanted to work with me. It wasn’t anything unusual. I had around 140K followers at the time and I would often receive similar emails from brands pitching me offers.
The company had emailed me with their offer and included a link to their Instagram page for me to check them out. It’s pretty standard, most of the time I want to learn as much as I can about the company before accepting or declining their offer. But little did I know at the time that all of this was an elaborate scheme by the hackers posing as a clothing brand.
When I clicked on their emailed link, instead of sending me to their Instagram page they led me to a false Instagram login page where they collected my login info including my username and password.
Soon after clicking on this link, I started getting emails from the hackers threatening to delete my account.
I decided not to engage with the hackers because by paying them money I would just be enabling them to continue their horrible hacking scheme and keep doing this to other people.
Also, paying them wouldn’t guarantee that my account would be returned to me. In many cases even when people pay the hackers, their accounts are still deleted.
While contemplating what to do next, my friend sent me a screenshot of my page. She was still showing my account in her cache that hadn’t fully cleared yet, but my account along with all of my photos was already deleted by the hackers.
Yet they still kept emailing me pretending as if they hadn’t…
The threatening emails continued for days, although it was clearly evident that my account was deleted long before.
There was nothing I could do but stare at my phone in disbelief. 3 years of photography work, 140,000 followers, and hundreds of images just gone and erased from Instagram’s existence like nothing.
Most Instagram hacker cases are not this extreme. In many cases, the hackers just lock people out, change the username and maybe post some inappropriate material. But in either case, getting your Instagram account hacked is a stressful and frustrating situation.
For a while, I felt embarrassed and almost ashamed that I got hacked. But by sharing this I hope I can shed some light on this horrible Instagram hacking scheme and hopefully help stop hacks like this from happening to someone else in the future.
I will cover in more detail how to prevent yourself from getting hacked later in this post, but as I’m sure most of you are here looking for tips on how to get your hacked Instagram account back so I’ll cover that next.
How To Recover A Hacked Instagram Account
If your Instagram account was hacked and deleted, the faster you act, the more likely you will be able to recover your account. As I later found out, all deleted data gets erased from the Instagram system after two weeks and can’t be recovered after.
Here’s what you should do right after your Instagram account is hacked.
Reverse The Hack Through Email
When there is any major change done to your Instagram account, an automatic email should be sent to your email address on file. Someone getting into your account from a new device and changing your info under Settings should trigger this type of email.
Right after you get hacked the first thing you should do is go to that email and see if there is an option to “Change Your Password” or “Revert This Change”. If the hacker was slow in changing your Login information, you may be able to gain back access or at least lock the hacker out by clicking this button.
In my case, the hacker already changed my password, username, and email on file so I was not able to lock them out. They had completely taken over my account and changed all of my information by the time I saw that email but it’s worth it to give it a try
I’ve heard of people locking out the hackers this way to prevent them from further tampering with their accounts.
Save Your Username
If Instagram is a big part of your business, you may have spent years building a brand around your username. If the hackers changed your username after getting into your account, it means that your username is up for grabs by anyone.
If you care to save that username before someone else takes it, just simply create a new account with that name. Once you recover your old account, you can switch the username back on it.
Report The Hack To Instagram
The official way to report a hack to Instagram is through their Request Support system found under the Log In screen.
It’s a short form that can be filled out within a few minutes asking a few basic questions like the email that you used to create your account, contact info, the issue, etc.
At first, I had some difficulty finding this support request form since it’s not super easily accessible. Which sort of baffles me because when you’re hacked and locked out of your account in a panic mode, shouldn’t the reporting process be made simple and easy??
To find this form log out of all Instagram accounts that you are currently using. In the Login screen click on “Forgot password?”
In the next screen type in the username of the account that was hacked. Then click “Need more help?” and a form called “Request Support” should pop up.
Note: I noticed that if I don’t type in the username and instead try to use my email or phone number before clicking on “Need more help?”, I get sent to a help page instead of the form.
Once you get to the “Request Support” form, fill out all the asked questions and click “Request Support” all the way at the bottom. This should kick off a general request to Instagram to let them know that your account was hacked.
Unfortunately, the support request form doesn’t seem to be an option for Android users. No matter what I tried on my husband’s Android phone, it kept leading me to the help page and never to the report itself.
If you have an Android phone, you might need to borrow an iPhone from a family member or a friend to submit the Request Support form to Instagram.
If any Android users have been able to access the Request Support form under the Login screen, let us know otherwise in the comments below!
Once you submit the Request Support form, within a few hours you should receive an email from Instagram with some follow-up questions. If you don’t receive this email, try submitting the Request Support form again using a different email address until you get this response.
Instagram claims that it’s to help them filter through all the false reports that get submitted to Instagram. Unfortunately, this makes the process also harder and longer for all the people that are genuinely trying to report their hacked Instagram accounts.
To pass the computers scanning your responses keep your answers concise and to the point. If you pass, you will receive another email asking for a photo of yourself holding up a unique code and your Instagram handle name.
Once you send that in, Instagram claims that a real person reviews this image and compares it to the images on your account. If the image you submitted matches the images on your account and the Instagram team can verify that it’s really you, soon after you should get an email from Instagram with access to your account.
Most Instagram account owners are able to get their hacked accounts back through this reporting system within a few hours up to a few days.
Unfortunately, it seems that if your account was deleted, the computer system might have some difficulty in locating your account. I tried submitting multiple Request Support forms, but I kept getting these frustrating dead-end emails while some of my friends got their accounts back through this reporting system within a day or two.
It was time for me to get a bit more creative.
Find A Friend Who Works At Instagram Or Facebook
As most people may already know, Instagram and Facebook are owned by the same company. In this case, it can be a big advantage because if you find someone who works at either company, they can submit an internal request for someone to review your case.
Instagram and Facebook have their own internal help reporting systems for when things go wrong. If you know a friend or acquaintance who works at either company, it can really speed things up in the recovery process.
Don’t be shy about sharing your unfortunate situation on your other social media channels. You may get one of those lucky responses “I may know a guy…” or “my friend of a friend works there”.
Oddly though, it does matter how good of
If a friend of yours does submit an internal request to review your case, make sure to follow up on it quite frequently. Even in their internal system things sometimes get lost purely of the sheer volume of help requests that get submitted to Instagram and Facebook daily.
As I mentioned earlier, you only have two weeks to recover your hacked and deleted Instagram account, so it’s up to you to follow up on it daily.
Report The Hack Through Facebook Ads Chat
For business account owners one of the quickest ways to get in touch with a REAL PERSON (yes people – real breathing, walking, and taking human beings) is through the Facebook Ads Chat option.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have a business account, you won’t have the option to chat with the Facebook Ads support team so it might be worth it to create one.
Creating a business page won’t affect how your current friends and family see your personal account. Doing this will just create a new business page that will be linked to your personal account.
Once you create a business page, you will have access to the Facebook Ads Manager. But before you are able to chat with a live representative, you will need to spend at least $1 on Facebook Ads. The
I personally didn’t know this yet I kept hearing of this magical Facebook Ads chat box where business page owners could talk to a live representative instead of getting the generic help page answers. I couldn’t find this chat box in my Ads Manager until one day I spent some money on an ads campaign as a test and a few days later there it was, the mysterious chat box.
To access this chat box go to your Facebook business page and click on Help in the top right-hand corner, then select “Advertiser Support”.
This will get you to the Facebook Business Resources page. On this page scroll down until you see a box saying “Still Need Help? Find Answers Or Contact Support”. Click on “Get Started”.
Next will need to click through a few prompt screens. In the first one, I selected “Policy & Account Security”. I figured since my account was hacked, this option would apply the most.
Because the hackers deleted my account,
Next click on the window “Chat With A Representative“. The Facebook representatives are not available during the weekends and outside of working hours so make sure to set aside an hour to chat with the support reps during working hours Monday to Friday.
Fill out all the requested information and click on “Start Chat“. Within a few minutes, you should be connected to a live representative.
Once you are connected you can tell the representative that your account was hacked and that you need help to recover it. They will ask a few follow-up questions like what happened, your username, the email used to create your account, etc.
Before you get on the chat I highly recommend gathering some backup to provide to the chat representative like screenshots of the hacker emails and any proof of your account ownership.
If you have done paid ads in the past, all of your Instagram info might already be connected to the Facebook Ads Manager. I had never paid for ads before so there was no trace of my account existence and I had to show proof that I was the owner of it.
The Facebook Ads support tech won’t be able to restore your account on the spot but they should be able to submit all of this information to their internal team to investigate. I have heard of friends getting their accounts back within 24 hours after reporting it as hacked through the Facebook Ads Chat system.
How To Prevent A Hack From Happening
Set Up Two-Factor Authentication
One of the most secure ways to prevent anyone from accessing your Instagram account is to have Two-Factor Authentication, or shortly 2FA, set up.
What the heck is 2FA, you may wonder? I wasn’t sure of myself until my account got hacked and everyone, like EVERYONE told me I should have it set up.
Two Factor Authentication means linking your phone number to your Instagram page. Every time your account gets accessed from a new device (phone, laptop, etc), a text notification will be sent to your phone with an access code. This code will need to be entered into the Instagram login screen in order to access your account.
In most cases, the hackers won’t have access to your phone and will be using some sort of software to breach your account. If you have Two-Factor Authentication set up, the hackers will be blocked from getting into your account and you will be sent a notification alerting you of the hack. This way not only the system prevent the hackers from getting into your account, but you will also be notified of the intrusion.
If you don’t have a 2FA set up already, please do yourself a huge favor and take two seconds to do this. Just go to Instagram Settings, then select “Two-Factor Authentication”.
Under Text Message options select “On”.
Instagram will also provide you with a set of codes that you can use for cases when you don’t have your phone on you to receive the code via text message. Make sure to write these codes somewhere safe in case you need to access your account from a new device or if your phone is lost or stolen.
Investigate Emailed Links
Although it might seem so simple and preventable, it’s the one thing that got my account hacked – clicking on a bad link.
To be honest, I didn’t even know that hacking Instagram pages through bad links was a “thing” until it happened to me. As I’ve learned now, this has been happening for quite some time now but nobody is really talking about it. Maybe it’s the embarrassment – I sure was ashamed that someone hacked me.
But staying quiet and ignoring this issue won’t help it go away. So here I am, sharing the
Most spams can be pretty easily detectable. I’m sure most of us have gotten some odd email from a Nigerian prince offering us big sums of money. But in this case, the hackers sent me a tailored email that looked so normal that it didn’t even cross my mind that it could be a hack.
The email simply pitched a potential collaboration with a clothing company and included a link that seemed to lead to their Instagram page. Little did I know that the link was a Bitly link renamed to look like Instagram and led me to a false Instagram Log In where they collected my login information.
One way to check for this is to right-click on the link, select “Open link in new tab” and paste it into a blank Word Document page. If the link leads somewhere else instead of Instagram, it will show that here. If it shows the link as a Bit.ly link, that means it’s a BIG RED FLAG, and do not click on it.
Next time you see someone urging you to “Check out their page”, think twice before clicking on the link that they sent you.
Only Log In From The Instagram App
Another way to avoid getting hacked is to never access Instagram except for the app itself. If someone sends you a link to their page, instead of clicking on that link ask for their username and check it out through the app itself.
If you do click on a link that was emailed to you and for some odd reason it asks you to enter your login info, DON’T. If you are already logged into Instagram from the app on your phone, you shouldn’t have to log in again. This is when hackers collect your info to access your account.
Don’t Share Your Login With Third Parties
If you use any apps to edit photos or to analyze data, they might ask for your Login information to connect your account. Before you do so, make sure to check out how legit these apps really seem.
As a business account, I was also often asked to share my Login info with companies and Infuencer platforms that I worked with. Just be cautious of any outside parties that you share your info with. You wouldn’t share your social security number with just anyone so treat your login information with the same care.
Getting your account hacked sucks. But what makes it even worse is the lack of information available on what to actually do when it does happen.
Most of the information mentioned in this article was something I learned by going through the process myself and suggestions from my friends that had their accounts hacked and were able to recover them.
By the time I found out about the Facebook Ads Chat option, a few weeks already had gone by. The representative that I talked to through the chat put in a request to get my case looked at but a few days later informed me that all of my account information had been already been wiped out of the Instagram data system.
They were eager to help me but there was nothing they could do because too much time had passed…
I hope that Instagram hacks stop but I also realize that is not the reality. I do hope that this guide can shed some light on real steps that you can take to help you recover your account once it does happen.
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