First, take a deep breath. Instagram account breaches are common and are rather quick and painless to take care of, especially if caught early on. Take another breath, and check out our solution to an Instagram account being hacked.
How to tell if your Instagram account is hacked:
- Blocked Access: You can no longer access your account as your username and/or password are different.
- Suspicious Behavior: Any odd posts/comments/shares sent from your account that you do not recognize can indicate compromise.
- Security Email From Instagram: You have received an email from [email protected] with a request for an email address change. The email will contain a link that will enable you to revert the change.
- Unusual Login Activity: In your account settings, you can view the locations and timestamps of any logins, in addition to the devices used. If you use a VPN, Instagram might register the exit IP address, so confirm it matches the activity location.
- Screen Time: An unusually long screen time for Instagram (e.g. 4 hours per day rather than your typical 30 min) suggests an unwanted presence.
- High Data Usage: Similar to longer screen time, higher-than-usual data usage can signal an account breach.
If you have been hacked but can still access your Instagram, immediately:
- Change Your Account Password. Make it strong and unique, and do not share it with anyone.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). You can do this directly from your account settings. If you already have 2FA activated but you selected WhatsApp or SMS codes, switch the delivery method to a third-party authentication app instead, as the hacker may have intercepted the recovery code sent to your phone. Regardless, still, make sure to activate 2FA.
- Now you can examine your login requests, remove any stored devices you no longer use, and view backup codes. (These codes allow you to access your account in the event you are having issues receiving your 2FA login code. Make sure to store them in a safe place.)
- Secure Your Email Account. Check for any emails you do not recognize in your sent and trash folders and change your password so that it is both strong and different from your Instagram one.
If you have been hacked but can no longer access your Instagram:
- Secure your email account. If you lost access because the hacker has changed the password, you must contact your provider to initiate an identification process to recover your account. This step is crucial to re-accessing your Instagram.
- Request a login link from Instagram. Since the hacker has changed your password, tap on “Forgot Password?” (iOS) or “Get help logging in” (Android). You can choose to have Instagram send a login link to your email address or a security code to your phone number.
Depending on your account type, there are two ways Instagram can then verify your identity.
- An account with pictures of you: you must submit a video selfie of yourself turning your head in different directions so that it can be compared with pictures you have posted of yourself. The review process may take up to 2 business days, and the video will be deleted within 30 days.
- Account without pictures of you: you will receive an email asking you to provide the initial email address or phone number as well as the type of device (e.g. iPhone, Android, iPad) you used at the time of sign up.
Things to keep in mind:
You need access to the email address linked to your account, otherwise, Instagram will not be able to verify you.
There is no customer service beyond the Help Center. Although there is an automated support line you can call, you will not be able to get a hold of a representative and will be urged to consult the Help Center.
If you want personal assistance, Cyrus will be happy to help! In the app, you can chat with someone who can support you through this stressful time.