Instagram is crucial for designers, serving as a marketing and networking tool that’s key to landing new clients. So what should you do if you’ve had your Instagram hacked? First, don’t panic—you’re not alone. “I’d say it’s common for the average user to get hacked to some degree in their life,” says Matthew Krull, a social media strategist at design-focused communications agency Novità. “I hear more often than not from my friends and colleagues that they’ve experienced some suspicious activity on their account.” But if you’ve had your Instagram account hacked, it’s important to recover it as quickly as possible. Here are the steps for how to get your Instagram account back, as well as measures you can take to bolster your cybersecurity.
Can you get your Instagram back if it’s been hacked?
The short answer: It depends.
If you’ve had your Instagram hacked, it is possible to get it back, but you need to move fast, so that the hacker can’t compromise your account further. If you act quickly, you might be able to kick out the hacker while they’re in your account and before they’ve changed your info, deleted your photos, or posted to your profile. That way you can save yourself the trouble of having to recover your Instagram account through a Meta support request.
But if the hacker has already gone beyond logging in and potentially changing your password, Instagram account recovery becomes a lot more difficult. Depending on how much damage they’ve done, Instagram may be able to help you recover your account. But brace yourself: If your account has been deleted by a hacker, there might be nothing the Instagram support team can do to recover your account.
How do I get my Instagram account back?
There are two different levels of hacking: One that only changes your password, and another that changes your password and contact info. Here’s how to report a hacked Instagram account, and how to recover your Instagram account as soon as possible.
What to do if a hacker has changed your Instagram password
If you’ve found that your password no longer works, simply follow the steps for setting a new one, as prompted by the login page on the Instagram app. Hopefully, the login link will be sent to your email account or phone number, and you can use a security code to log back in to your account and change your password. This would be the best case scenario, as you can solve the problem yourself without having to contact Instagram. (That said, it’s not a bad idea to contact Instagram customer service anyway and let them know that your Instagram account has been hacked—the company may point out some helpful security tips to keep your account safe in the future.)
You’ve had your Instagram hacked, and the hacker changed your password and contact information. Now what?
Hitting a brick wall at the login screen? Yikes. If you’re locked out of your social media account, and you don’t receive a password reset link when you request one via the Forgot password button, a hacker may have changed your email and phone number. This is a more common type of hacking, as scammers know you will try to reset your password yourself, and they will want to keep control of the account for themselves. They may even hold your Instagram account for ransom, and request bitcoin or other plunder for you to get it back. If that’s the case, you’ll need to report the activity to Instagram by following the instructions here. They will ask you to verify your identity—you might even have to take a video selfie to prove you are who you say you are. This process likely won’t give you immediate access; it could take days or even weeks to recover your Instagram account.
Can you recover your Instagram account if it has been deleted?
In some cases, hackers might delete all your posts, or they might delete your account entirely. If they’ve deleted some but not all of your account, you might be able to retrieve posts by going into the Your Activity section of your Instagram account and selecting Recently deleted. There, you’ll find posts from the last 30 days as well as stories from the last 24 hours. You can then restore those images or videos.
But if your account has been totally deleted, you might be out of luck. Instagram itself says, “When you delete your account, your profile, photos, videos, comments, likes, and followers will be permanently removed.” You can create a new account with the same email address you used before, but you may not be able to get the same username.