What to do when your Instagram account gets hacked?


You can’t do anything if your Instagram account gets hacked. πŸ˜„

My wife’s account got hacked. Someone changed her password, email address, phone number, and username. I tried to block it by changing the password and signing out the other sessions (it was from Lagos, Nigeria) but looks like that didn’t work as they somehow managed to sign me out instead.

What followed was some quick reading up of Instagram’s pages on what to do when you get hacked. They are the worst. You get a bunch of options like this and none of them give you anything tangible:

If I choose the first one for instance, then enter the username (which by this point had changed, but we managed to find it anyway), it takes you to this page. Which is similarly useless.

At some point in the midst of all this we managed to get to a section – via the app – which asks you to take a video. That turned out to be useless as we tried it twice and both times got an email saying they couldn’t validate that. No idea what they were expecting out of a video anyway. And now that option’s disappeared too.

So, next you Google. :) And that gives you a whole bunch of unhelpful posts with some generic content and advice on how to avoid it the next time around. All this looks like stuff copy pasted from Instagram’s unhelpful page.

Lastly you get on to Twitter and send some messages to Instagram’s handle. That’s useless in itself, but now you get a bunch of messages from others with the handles of various people on Instagram you can contact to recover your account. That’s super suspicious, especially as when you check these Twitter accounts all they seem to be doing is replying to anyone who’s hacked (be it Twitter, Instagram, Wayfair, etc.) with the same copy-pasted message. I guess these Instagram handles are of the people who hacked you in the first place? Who knows.

What’s happened with her Instagram account for now is that it’s been made public and all her profile information changed. No idea what benefit a hacker has out of doing it, but is good fun I suppose… causing some damage, irritating people. Like vandalism. I guess they’ll now DM her friends and that way try to hack their accounts too.

So, anyways. For the next person who’s Instagram account gets hacked and is furiously Googling – sorry, there’s not much you can do. πŸ˜₯ Better to accept and move on. πŸ‘‹πŸ» There’s no support address for Instagram that I could find. No contact form, no email address, not even a postal address to send written complaints to. Be thankful, I guess, that it’s only your Instagram account and not something more critical like Gmail which can in turn be used to get into your other services. I wonder if Gmail has better tools when it comes to your Gmail account getting hacked… one hopes.

Oh – and just to troll every other similar blog post – turn on MFA please and secure your accounts! My wife should have done that in the first place, so while I am trolling it is genuine advice if you are not already doing it. ☺️ Turn on MFA, set some backup codes, yada yada.