Meta (formerly Facebook) has owned the social network Instagram since 2012. According to Statista in 2022 it had 1.28 billion active users worldwide — with the number forecast to increase further.
As you can imagine, this also makes Instagram accounts an attractive target for cybercriminals. However, very few of us are aware that our Instagram account, which we love using on our smartphones, can easily be hacked — until it happens.
Read on to learn how to tell if your Instagram account’s been hacked and how to get your account back. Follow this step-by-step guide if your Instagram account has been hacked & your email changed.
How do I find out if my Instagram account has been hacked?
There are some telltale signs that your Instagram account has been hacked — meaning, someone who shouldn’t be able to access your account unexpectedly can.
- Suddenly, you find yourself following a lot of people who you don’t know personally and liking or even commenting on their posts.
- You can no longer access your account — even though you’re absolutely sure you’re using the right password. You know for sure that nothing’s wrong technically.
- Suddenly there are pictures, stories, or reels on your Instagram profile that you know aren’t yours.
- Messages are sent on your behalf.
- You receive SMS security codes to reset your password or to log in, but it wasn’t you who requested them.
What should I do if my Instagram account has been hacked and/or my email address has been changed?
Having your Instagram account hacked is very annoying, but there are still ways to rescue your account. However, what you need to do depends on how someone gained access to your Instagram account in the first place.
Here’s a top tip to begin with: Check the email address associated with your Instagram account on a regular basis. As soon as a setting has been changed in your Instagram profile, you’ll automatically receive an email from the operator of this social network asking you to verify the activity.
You can do the following as long as you can still access your Instagram account
If you can still access your Instagram account, you should change your password right away. To do that, proceed as follows:
- After opening the Instagram app, first tap your profile picture followed by the three bars on the top right next to your profile name.
- Tap Settings, then find and tap Security.
- Now tap Password to enter your new password
Here’s something important to consider: If you use the same password for other accounts, we recommend you change them as well. Or better still: Change all your passwords in one go.
It’s probably been playing on your mind for a while now that you should use a different password for each of your online accounts, comprising at least one number, one capital letter, and one special character. However, remembering a whole bunch of different passwords is an impossible task.
Make life easier for yourself by using a password manager like Avira Password Manager, which also serves as a password safe . You only need to remember one master password, and this useful tool can generate all your other passwords for you. Avira Password Manager can help you improve the online security of all your online accounts — and strengthen your Instagram account’s protection in the process.
Follow these steps if your Instagram account email address has been changed
If the email address associated with your Instagram account has already been changed, you still have a good chance of recovering your account. That’s because Instagram emails you immediately about new log-in attempts and changes to any settings. If you receive such an email, simply click the link that says Secure my account and follow the instructions to undo any changes made by someone you don’t know or a hacker.
However, this way of rescuing your Instagram account requires that you regularly check your inbox and possibly also your email account’s spam folder. If you only get around to reading this email and securing your account days or even weeks later, it may be too late.
After changing your password and successfully securing your Instagram account, we recommend you also check any log-in activity on your account. We explain exactly how to do that towards the end of this post.
Lost all access to your Instagram account?
If you’ve lost all access to your Instagram account — and in the worst case, you’ve even been asked to pay a ransom to have your Instagram account back — get in touch with Instagram right away.
However, contacting the support team directly is quite time-consuming. That’s because Instagram doesn’t provide an email address for you to reach out to. That said, you can still contact the operator of this social network directly via the email address given in the legal info — even if the email address isn’t strictly for emergencies.
What can I do if my account was deleted during the hack?
If your Instagram account was “only” deactivated during a hack, you can still attempt to recover your account via the Help section.
Unfortunately, if your Instagram account was deleted during the hack, your only option is to create a new one.
How can I protect myself from future hacker attacks?
You can take a wide range of steps to protect your Instagram account and your privacy.
In addition to those you can carry our directly in your Instagram account, tools that are actually recommended for all your online activities will also help you.
Verifying any log-in activity can help protect your Instagram account
We’ve already mentioned that you should check your Instagram account log-in activity after changing your password and block “suspicious” log-in activities. You can strengthen your protection against an Instagram hack by regularly checking such log-in activities:
- In the Instagram app, tap your profile picture followed by the three bars on the top right next to your profile name. Now tap Settings.
- Tap Security followed by Login activity to view a list of all activities.
- In this list, tap the three dots to the right of an activity to see further details.
- If a log-in activity seems suspicious or you know right away that it can’t have been you, tap Log out to block access.
Of course, you can also access your account by visiting Instagram in your browser to perform these security steps.
Blocking third-party access can increase your Instagram account’s protection
If you want to improve your Instagram account’s protection, you should also block third-party providers’ access to your account.
- In the Instagram app, tap your profile picture followed by the three bars on the top right next to your profile name. Now tap Settings.
- Tap Security, then tap Apps and websites.
- You can then turn off all apps and websites connected to your Instagram account.
An antivirus app can protect against malware
It goes without saying that all the devices you use to access your Instagram account should be equipped with a tried-and-tested antivirus app. That’s because a good antivirus solution can help keep a watchful eye out for you by continuously analyzing your device for a wide range of online threats, detecting malware faster.
Even the free edition of Avira Antiviruscan help ensure that third-party providers you allow accidentally can’t install malware via your Instagram account.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) can help protect your Instagram account
As mentioned, unique passwords are the key. A password manager like Avira Password Manager can create and store them for you — plus it supports two-factor authentication for your Instagram account.
- In the Instagram app, tap Settings once again, then go to Security.
- Tap Two-factor authentication followed by Get started.
- Now choose a security method.
We don’t think text message authentication are a good idea, especially since hackers can easily hack your cell phone number (also known as SIM swapping). If that were to happen, text message authentication would be useless because the unauthorized person or hacker could then confirm the log-in codes themselves.
Instead, use Avira Password Manageras an authentication app to help improve your Instagram account’s protection. And, of course, Avira Password Manager can also help you improve the protection of the email address you associated with your Instagram account.
Top tip: Avira Antivirus Proand Avira Primeinclude many tools that can help you improve the online security, performance, and privacy of your devices — and they also include many tools, including one to manage your passwords.
There are two ways that you can verify your identity to get your hacked Instagram account back. If your account doesn't have photos of you: Instagram will ask for details such as the email address, phone number, and device type (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.) that you used when signing up for your account.How long does it take for Instagram to give back hacked account? ›
How long does Instagram take to recover a hacked account? The recovery process looks different for everyone, but you should expect this to take a couple of weeks on average (a minimum of 5-10 business days).What happens if you respond to a hacked account on Instagram? ›
There is no way for you to be hacked if you simply respond to an Instagram DM. However, it is possible to be hacked through an Instagram DM if you click any suspicious links that leads outside the app and into another website.How did hackers get into my Instagram? ›
Things like malicious software, 3rd-party apps, weak passwords, and in-app scams are a few ways an Instagram account can be hacked. If you notice unusual login activity or weird account activity, your Instagram account may have been hacked.How do I contact Instagram directly? ›
Instagram app for Android and iPhone
Tap in the top right, then tap Settings and privacy. Below More info and support, tap Help. Tap Report a Problem. From here you can choose to go back to where you saw the problem and shake your phone to report the issue, or you can tap Report problem without shaking.
3 Instagram issues warnings before deleting accounts. 4 Too many warnings will result in account deletion. 5 Multiple reports can draw attention to your account.What happens if your account gets hacked? ›
If hackers get into your device or accounts, they could access your money and personal information and you could become a victim of identity theft or identity fraud. Identity theft is when your personal details are stolen and identity fraud is when those details are used to commit fraud.Does Instagram reply to emails? ›
You can reach the support both from a phone or computer. The reply will be sent to the mail you have in the account settings.Where can I email Instagram for help? ›
Instagram Contact Number & Instagram Contact Email
Instagram's contact phone number is 650-543-4800 and their contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org, but please note it's highly likely you won't receive a response to your inquiry via these channels.
Your Instagram can be hacked. Depending on the source, between 20-25% of all social media accounts can expect to be compromised at some point. That's why it's a good idea to understand some of the signs that your Instagram may have been hacked.
The limitations of Two-Factor Authentication
However, this unfortunately is not the case - so don't get complacent with your Instagram security. Although 2FA is another layer of security, it is not a perfect solution. MFA, like every security tool, is not unhackable.
If you forget or don't know your Instagram username, you can still log in using your phone number or email address associated with your account. Once you log in, you'll be able to find your username at the top of your profile.How long does it take for Instagram to respond? ›
How Long Does It Take for Instagram Support to Respond? It commonly takes about a week for a support team to get back to you with a response. Don't forget to check your spam folder while waiting for the response. If you've waited more than three weeks and still got no response, you can send another enquiry.How do I contact Meta customer service? ›
- email@example.com – This is the most general, basic support email. ...
- firstname.lastname@example.org – You can use this email to contact Facebook to try to recover disabled or hacked accounts, if you need to reset your password, or if you're having problems accessing a page.
After 30 days, your account will be permanently deleted. And usually, you can only recover your account if it was disabled by mistake. In order to speed up the process, you can appeal in 3 different formats, two of which are forms, and one is via an email to Instagram support.How do I report and take down an Instagram account? ›
Select Report and follow the on-screen instructions. Tap their username from their Feed or story post, or tap and search their username to go to their profile. Tap next to their username. Select Report, then select the type of account you want to report and follow the on-screen instructions.What happens when Instagram removes an account? ›
Keep in mind that if your account is removed for violating Community Guidelines, you may not be able to sign up again with the same username. After 30 days of your account deletion request, your account and all your information will be permanently deleted, and you won't be able to retrieve your information.What happens when an Instagram account gets reported? ›
When you report a piece of content (example: post, comment, story) to us, we will take action to hide or remove that content from Instagram if we find that it goes against our Community Guidelines.Who do you call if your account has been hacked? ›
What to do: File an identity theft report with the FTC on IdentityTheft.gov. File a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). File a police report when you discover that you've been hacked, especially in cases of identity theft.Why do hackers hack your account? ›
Very often, hackers steal data to assume your identity and then use it for something else like taking a loan, transferring money, etc. The occurrence of such incidents has increased after mobile banking and Internet banking started to gain popularity.
Malware on your computer
With the help of a kind of spyware known as a keylogger program, you are tracked while typing on the infected device. By recording your keystrokes, the hacker can steal your passwords and other sensitive data and use it to access your accounts, including email, social media and online banking.
- On the login screen, tap Forgot Password?
- Enter username, email or phone, and tap Log in with Facebook.
- Tap Next, and follow the on-screen instructions.
- A link will be sent to either your email or phone to help reset your password.
You get signed out of your online accounts (social media, email, online banking, etc.), or you try to log in and discover your passwords don't work anymore. You receive emails or text messages about login attempts, password resets, or two-factor authentication (2FA) codes that you didn't request.How do hackers get passwords? ›
Phishing is one of the most common ways that hackers gain access to other people's login data. Phishing emails often contain links that lead to fake websites designed to trick you into entering your password.