One of the many things I don’t like to happen on my social media accounts is to get hacked. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about it. The hacker would delete all the photos and sell the account (if you have thousands of followers) or even worse is when they post nasty things on your behalf. Ugh. Can be really stressful.
Yes, this happened to me months ago and I’ve been extra careful since then for it not to happen again.
It was a lovely evening at a park with my niece, while I was browsing my Instagram, a pop-up message that said I changed my password appeared on my screen. I was surprised as I didn’t do it myself. I told myself that it’s okay, as long as I won’t log out of my IG, I’ll be able to recover it again with my email. I was wrong.
I checked my email, I received three messages from Instagram saying I changed my password, email address, and phone number that was changed to an international one. That’s when it finally sank in that my Instagram account has been hacked! I didn’t cry but I was on the verge of it. That was the first time that happened to me.
How I recovered my account back:
- Request support from Instagram. You won’t find customer service email or phone number that you can contact. Instead, open your Instagram app and click the “Get help signing in“, then click “Need more help” and you’ll see the Request Support form. Fill it out and wait for their email. Be very patient and calm. I searched online about other people’s stories and they received a reply from Instagram a few days after. Luckily for me, I got mine after two hours of reporting my hacked account. You will get frustrated while waiting for the reply from Instagram but don’t attack them with harsh emails or replies, they will help you recover your account back.
- On the email from Instagram, they asked me to take a picture of myself with my complete name and the code they provided and the hacked Instagram username on a clean white paper. May I also add that the email was in Dutch so I had to translate it into English for me to understand.
- After over half hour, Instagram emailed back with a link where I could access my account again. I was so relieved and grateful!
My tips to avoid getting hacked:
- Turn on your two-factor authentication. I guess this was my mistake as I didn’t have this turned on before. No one will be able to login to your account as Instagram would send a code to your phone number every time a login is being done.
- Secure the email you used to sign up with your account. Also, choose a strong password. For me, I have different passwords in all my social media accounts.
- Another tip is to have a second account where you only follow your main account (or maybe other very close friends). But make sure to keep the following at a minimum. This will help you to track your main account as other hackers will change your username.
I hated that this happened to me but I’m also grateful that I now have my account back. I believe the most important prevention is to turn on the two-factor authentication. Don’t wait until you became a victim of this experience too.