Whether you’re an influencer, business or have a personal account, getting your Instagram hacked is pretty terrible. It takes years to build up an engaged audience and literally seconds for someone to take it away from you. Aside from that as well, there’s also the concern of identity theft, and someone having access to all your private messages.
We unfortunately had our Instagram account hacked in 2019 pretty badly, but we were lucky enough to get it back within 48 hours thanks to the help of a bunch of different people. When our account was hacked, it all happened so quickly. Kristen was literally sitting on her emails and watched the notifications come through from Instagram saying password changed, phone number changed, account name changed, and finally email and phone numbers disconnected from our account. She clicked on the ‘this wasn’t me’ option in the email within seconds, but it was already too late, and we went from having a lovely Sunday to having no connection to our Instagram account at all. It seemed like five years of hard work had just gone down the drain.
If your account has only been minorly hacked and you still have your email address and/or phone number connected to your account, you can (hopefully) get it back by following these instructions here.
If your situation sounds pretty similar to ours, here are some tips on what we did to get our Instagram account back after it was hacked.
Don’t respond to the hackers
Right after our account was hacked, we started receiving emails from the hackers. They said they would delete the account within 24 hours if we didn’t respond. After some research reading Reddit threads from other people in similar situations, we decided the best thing to do was to not respond. If you do respond you’ll likely give them a reason to antagonise you more, so just ignore that trash and focus on getting your account back.
Don’t pay them money
When your Instagram account is hacked, it’s common for them to ask you for money to get it back, and if you pay they won’t give it back regardless. People have even had their bank details stolen as a result, which is the worst possible outcome. Again, just ignore any emails asking for money or threatening to delete/sell the account if you don’t pay in x amount of time.
Report your account as hacked
In all honesty, this probably isn’t going to do a lot of good and if you’re one of the lucky ones that managed to get your account back this way, we envy you. It’s still worth reporting your account as hacked though just to cover all bases, so at the Instagram log-in screen, click on ‘Get help signing in’. Follow all the prompts here to report your account as hacked, and see if their system can do anything to help you.
Contact Instagram support
Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org is a bit of a long shot to try and get your account back. It’s an automated system and can take a while to get back to you. It’s worth giving it a shot though, explaining what’s happened and seeing if you can retrieve your account this way. This system didn’t work at all for us but we still got our account back, so if it doesn’t work for you, don’t stress yet.
Try and locate the account
Unfortunately this didn’t work for us as they had deactivated our account, but if the name of your account has been changed, trying to locate the account will be a big step in getting it back. If you remember any of your photo captions (something very specific, not ‘take me back!’ or if you have any lengthy ones saved/ written anywhere, try putting the caption into Google. If you’re doing this right after your account has been hacked the post should still appear in Google, even if the account has been deleted/deactivated. When you click on the link it will either take you to your account and tell you the new name of it, or give you the annoying ‘Sorry, this page isn’t available’ which means it’s been deleted/ deactivated. If by some small miracle you’ve located your account, you’ll be able to send it through to Instagram during the process to get it back, which will help speed things up a bit.
What happens if your Instagram account has been deactivated/ deleted
Most hackers will deactivate the account so it’s harder to retrieve, and some will threaten to delete it if you don’t respond to them/ pay them money/ promise them your firstborn child. Quora says that a deactivated account will still remain in Instagram’s system for 30 days, so while there’s a bit of a time limit it’s not final.
Find someone who works at Instagram
If your account is totally, utterly and wholly hacked with no way for you to prove the account was yours (like ours was), the only thing left to do is find someone who works at Instagram or Facebook. This is how we got our account back, and we were genuinely so surprised at how quick to respond and happy to help people were. We put out a post on all our (available) channels, e.g. personal Instagrams and Facebooks, you can use your blog or YouTube account as well if you have them, and explained the situation. Before long we had quite a few people putting us in contact with friends of friends who worked at the social media giant’s offices around the world, and before long our account was back.
Once you’re in contact with someone who works there it’s a lot easier to get across what’s happened and prove the account is yours. You’ll probably be asked to provide a range of different data to link the account to you, from photos, phone numbers and emails to even answering random security questions. When they’ve validated your identity though, they’ll request a new secure email address they can reset the account to, and before long you’ll be back in.
Turn on two-factor authentication
Not having 2fa on is the reason our account was able to be hacked so easily, and it’s (probably) the same reason for you. The number one piece of advice we can give from this experience is to always have 2fa on, whether it’s for your Instagram, PayPal or even a gaming app you use. PUT IT ON EVERYTHING and you can rest easy at night, knowing your account is a hell of a lot more secure than it was without. Also, it’s a given, but things like changing your passwords regularly, not using the same password for multiple accounts and using hard to guess passwords with a mix of letters, numbers and symbols will keep you safer from hackers.
How long does it take to get a hacked Instagram account back
During our 48 hours of panic we spoke to loads of people who had been in the same situation as us, and the time frame really varied. We were incredibly lucky to get it back in 48 hours, so if it takes longer for you don’t panic. Most people got their accounts back within a few weeks, with a few really dire cases taking a couple of months. From what we could gather, only the people who couldn’t get in contact with someone at Instagram/Facebook (or didn’t try) never got their accounts back. So just work your little butt off, speak to EVERYONE you know and you’ll have your account up and running again in no time!
As a side note: we still have the hackers emailing us from time to time asking us if we want our account back, and we’ve had it back for months now. If that’s not an indication that you should just ignore them and go about getting your account back on your own terms, we don’t know what is.
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⚠️ OUR ACCOUNT GOT HACKED… ⚠️ BUT WE’RE BACK AND FULLY RECOVERED!!! ✅✅ And with only a slight change in username. 😉 (P.S image slightly relevant, as this is the dinner we were at when we regained full control of our account again!) If you’re up for a bit of a read or have a general interest in what happened, see a brief synopsis of our horror story below… ______ It was just a regular Sunday morning and we were going about our business, heading to the gym, making breakfast, when suddenly we received a mail notification of an unrecognised device login from somewhere in UK. It was all downhill from there. ______ Watching the action happen live from our phones, we saw the hacker change the email address, remove our mobile number, deactivate our account, change the username on our original account and then set up a new account using the readily available name “theadelaidian”. We had no idea what the username of our original account was changed to, if it’s data was still retained and/or if we were ever going to get it back. ______ The hacker was sending us emails, pretending to be Instagram, suggesting we reply or they would delete everything. We suspected they wanted money. Then came the stressful 30 something hours of research and pleading for support from our followers. ______ We were among a very lucky small percentage of people who actually get their account back in such a quick amount of time (or even at all), especially considering the severity of our case where there was no tracing back to the original account as it had been wiped or deactivated. Our only hope was a direct contact to @facebook or @instagram, and our support network came through with the goods. ______ We are so grateful to everyone who went out of their way to find people, contact people, share stories, tips and insider knowledge because without you all, we’d probably still be fighting. We had spent a good 5 years creating this blog – our baby, our identity, the story of our friendship – and this 5 years of hard work and organic growth had been stolen from us within just minutes. If we can leave you with a word of advice, it would be to SECURE. YOUR. ASSETS.