My Instagram (IG) account got hacked. I couldn’t access it. I never thought it could happen to me. While all of this was happening, I was outside playing with my daughter’s dog who we were dogsitting. I didn’t have my iPhone with me.
When I came back inside, loads of my friends and family on IG had reached out to me outside of the app and called me, texted me, emailed me, and sent messages via other social media. They wrote that they believed my account was HACKED. Many were doing screenshots of what the hacker impersonating me was sending them. Luckily, my family and friends knew that I wouldn’t write something like the hacker had written them. Here was one of the messages:
Oh no! HACKED by someone who made me sound nasty! That’s probably why my friends wrote me. I opened my computer and then noticed the emails from IG that I missed.
No. I wasn’t in Nigeria!.. YIKES! I missed this and it was too late to respond. I also received this email below when I was outside without my phone…
I clicked on “secure your account here” and then on, “I think my account was hacked” and it didn’t work. WHY? You need to have a special code sent to your phone. I never received the code. The hacker did.
YES – that X?@#!! Hacker changed my PHONE and my PASSWORD.
I got another email saying the hacker had added 2-factor authentication to MY IG account. WHAT????
Okay — this is when I started screaming at IG. Yep, I scared the dog.
When I tried to log in to Instagram and clicked “forgot password”, I was sent to another account. The ?@#!! Hacker had put my email on their site or it could even be another account they hacked.
Time to Report to IG
I’ll tell you right now that clicking the link that says “I didn’t do this” does NOTHING; you’ll only be sent to an error page or redirected to the IG login dashboard on your computer.
IG Support Bots sent me into a frustrating cycle that didn’t seem to end. I sent the report form from the HELP page and waited and waited for the automatic email response – I never got the email… Tried 3 more times. Nothing.
Better Directions to Report to IG
I went to my IG app login page for my IG account that was hacked and tried something else. I clicked “Forgot Password” and then “Need More Help” underneath the “Log In” button on the next page.
This takes you to the screen to help you recover your account.
I decided to use my cell phone number to send the security code. I forgot that the number on my account was changed and was not my cell phone. I never received the code. I checked a few sites that talked about fixing hacked IG accounts. One site recommended clicking “I can’t access this email or phone number” and to then click “Request Support.”
Time to Ask for Help
I was sent to a page to do a video selfie. I tried to do the video selfie over and over and it didn’t work. So I started asking my friends if they know anyone who works at Facebook or Instagram to help me. After two days, I was getting desperate. I googled “help with hacked Instagram account” and I found multiple testimonials for Juan who helped them get their accounts back.
I went to Juan’s website and sent him a request using his contact form. Juan reached out to me immediately and told me he’s an IG partner. We used WhatsApp to communicate. I was skeptical at first but with each question and next step he told me to do that worked, I felt more comfortable. He had me share screenshots after each step to make sure I did it correctly. He created a temporary email to help me get a security code and other steps that I would not have been able to do myself.
I got to the same point to do the video selfie. It didn’t work again. Juan told me to update my Instagram app. That was the problem. Now I had to wait to hear from Instagram. Juan told me he’d be there for me in the morning. Bright and early the next day, I got a message from him. He walked me through the process to log in and changing the temporary password he put on my account. Then he walked me through how to set up the 2-factor authentication and how to create backup codes. There was a fee for his services, but the experience and what I learned were well worth it.
My Experience was a Blesson
I know you probably wonder why being hacked was a Blesson (a blessing and a lesson), defined by Karen Salmansohn. It shook me up and made me look at what I was doing on platforms that use BOTS instead of humans to support us when we have technical issues. There are accounts that have millions of followers that are being hacked. I’m not one of the accounts with loads of followers so I just didn’t think it would happen to me. I wanted to know how to fix this problem if it happened again. I also wanted to let my friends who reached out to me that there is a way to protect our accounts.
So, why is this a Blesson?
I was getting careless about watching what passwords I was using. I had several favorite passwords I used for many of my accounts. I didn’t have 2-factor authentication on. I was using social media to connect with friends and family and for work. I thought I’d always have my account and that my connections had my back. I also connected to people who were friends of friends. That could have been the problem.
I realize it was wrong for me to…
- think hacking wouldn’t happen to any of my accounts.
- not have any sort of security set up to prevent hacking.
- not to change my passwords and not use the same passwords for multiple accounts.
- keep procrastinating about putting extra security on my accounts.
Not any more. I’m on it. I hope my experience might help you protect your accounts.