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Instagram hacked? How to get your account back

A couple taking a selfie together outside.

If you can’t log in to post new photos or a friend reaches out to tell you about strange messages sent from your account, it might mean your Instagram was hacked. Keep reading to learn how to secure your Instagram account and how strong mobile security software like Norton 360 Deluxe can help protect you from hackers and keep your accounts safe.

Whether you’re a successful influencer or you just love sharing pictures of your pets, you could be at risk of having your Instagram account hacked. A 2022 survey found that of the people who had a social media account hacked, 85% had their Instagram account compromised.

Hacks are just one of many social media threats that can prevent you from safely enjoying and posting on Instagram, but knowing what to do if someone gets access to your profile can make the difference between keeping your photos (and followers) and losing everything. Here’s how to get a hacked Instagram account back under your control:

  • Check your email
  • Get a login link directly from Instagram
  • Ask for a security code
  • Verify your identity with Instagram
  • Change your login information

Before diving into each of the above steps in more detail, let’s take a look at some of the most common signs that your Instagram account is hacked.

How can I tell if my Instagram was hacked?

There are a few ways that you can find out that someone hacked your Instagram profile or is trying to get access.

  • You receive an email notification from Instagram. When you (or someone else) tries to log into your account on a new device or from an unusual geographic location, Instagram will send an email to the address you use for the account asking for you to verify the login.
  • You can’t log in. If you try to sign in and can’t, it could mean that someone successfully logged into your account and either changed your password, logged you out of all other sessions, or both.
  • Strange posts show up on your profile. If there are photos or Reels that you didn’t post on your profile page, someone else likely accessed your account and posted them. That means that they figured out and used your login information.
  • There was an unauthorized account email change. If you see odd photos on your profile, check that the email connected to your Instagram account is correct. Hackers will often log into an account and change the email address to hide their tracks and prevent you from using 2FA (two-factor authentication).
  • You receive a suspicious login alert. If the app opens a pop-up window or sends a push message to your device asking if you recently logged in, it could mean someone is hacking your account. Check the message to see the location and time of the login. If it wasn’t you, follow the instructions on that page to secure your account before it’s too late.

What do you do if you don’t receive any warnings (or overlook them) and find out you can’t get into your account?

How to recover your Instagram account following a hack

Reclaim your Instagram account by first checking your email for a message that will let you secure your account, request a direct login link from Instagram, get a security code, or verify your identity with Instagram.

As soon as you realize your account has been hacked, follow these steps to minimize the chances of your account being lost for good.

1. Check your email

Screenshot of a new login email when an Instagram hack has occurred.

Instagram will send you an email from whenever a new device tries to sign into your account or if someone tries to change the account email address or password. That message will ask you if you made those changes and provide a link to secure your account if it wasn’t you.

If you can get into your account after securing it, make sure that your email address and recovery phone number are still correct, then change your password. Using a password manager like Norton Password Manager can help you create and keep track of your passwords.

2. Get a login link directly from Instagram

Screenshot of the login link screen you see when an Instagram hack has occurred and you can’t log in.

Instagram will provide you with a login link if you can prove that an account is yours. If you’ve been logged out from an Android device, select “Get help logging in” and then follow the directions. If you have an iOS device, select “Forgot password?” to start the recovery process. You can choose to have the link sent to your phone or your email.

Once you regain access, ensure your account is secured against future hacking attempts by setting a more secure password and enabling 2FA.

3. Ask for a security code

Screenshot of a security code email when an Instagram hack has occurred.

A security code is similar to a login link, except it requires that you’ve set up 2FA on your account. If you have, you can choose “Forgot password?” on iOS devices and “Get help logging in” on Android devices and then request a new code to be sent to your phone or your authenticator app to allow you to log back in and secure your account.

4. Verify your identity with Instagram

Screenshot of the video selfie screen that can help you prove ownership of an account after an Instagram hack.

If other methods to secure your account have failed, the Instagram support team may request that you submit a selfie video of your face at different angles. They’ll match the video to pictures of you on your profile and then provide you with a way to log back in and secure your account. If your account has no pictures of you, submitting a video selfie won’t help.

Instagram support may also ask you other questions about your account to prove that you’re the rightful owner. You might have to send them your phone number, the email address you used to create the account, and the kind of device that you used to sign up.

6. Other methods to try:

If you have a business account on Facebook connected to your personal account (and your Instagram account), you may get support faster than if you go directly through Instagram. Try contacting support through your business account.

You can also use Meta’s Account Center (a hub where connected Facebook and Instagram account settings are accessible in one place) to try to reset your password and secure your account. You can use the Account Center to set up 2FA, too.

Can I get my account back if it was deleted?

Maybe, but it depends on a few factors.

You can get your deleted Instagram account back if:

  • The account was temporarily disabled. A temporarily disabled account can be reenabled at any time. It will also be reenabled after the time limit expires (if one was set).
  • The account was permanently deleted less than 30 days ago. You may be able to restore a permanently deleted account if you do so within 30 days of its deletion. This isn’t guaranteed, as Instagram’s help center specifically says that if it’s been deleted it is gone for good. However, some users have reported being able to get their accounts back up and running.

You can’t get your deleted Instagram account back if:

  • The account was permanently deleted more than 30 days ago. Instagram may have a 30-day window for deleted accounts, after which you can’t recover the account.
    • However, it is worth noting that some people have been able to reactivate previously deleted profiles if they address the issue in less than 30 days.

If your account was deleted or deactivated by a hacker, you might not know whether or not you can restore it. Follow the instructions on the account recovery screen to attempt it as soon as you can.

How do Instagram accounts get hacked?

Illustrated chart covering some of the ways a hacker can try to hack into your Instagram account.

Different types of hackers have a lot of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to getting into other people’s social media profiles. Some of the most common methods are:

  • Phishing: Phishing is a method for obtaining data about people by creating fake emails, websites, and other assets that look real to trick people into giving up their passwords. Fake Instagram emails and accounts might ask you to double-check your login information or invite you to take a survey to get you onto their fake site.
  • Malware: Malware is a type of software designed to get into a device to damage it or monitor the activity on it. Clicking a link you don’t know or downloading an unsafe app could mean a hacker can get into your Instagram account as easily as you can.
  • Email hacks: If your email is hacked, the hacker can learn a lot about you, including what accounts you have, sensitive financial information, pictures, and more. Once they can get into your email, they can start picking other accounts to break into.
  • Third-party apps: Third-party apps allow hackers a few avenues to access accounts. First, hackers can use an app as a backdoor into connected accounts if it isn’t secure. Hackers can also create apps that allow them to hack into the accounts of people using the app.
  • Weak passwords: With a little social engineering, hackers can guess passwords, especially if you reuse passwords or use the names of pets or children as your password.

How can I protect my Instagram account from hackers?

You can protect your Instagram account from hackers by:

  • Enabling 2FA
  • Using a strong and unique password
  • Using fewer third-party apps
  • Regularly reviewing your login activity and trusted devices
  • Using autosave features
  • Not clicking on strange links
Illustrated chart covering tips for securing social media accounts to avoid being hacked.

Social media security doesn’t have to be a full-time job. By following a few online security best practices, you can enjoy your online life without having to worry as much about hackers.

  • Enable 2FA: 2FA strengthens the security of your accounts by using a second layer of security, like a code sent via SMS, to verify your identity and grant access to your account.
  • Use strong, unique passwords: Stronger passwords are harder for hackers to crack, so use a strong password for Instagram (and the rest of your accounts). A password manager can help you keep track of them.
  • Limit third-party app access to your account: Third-party apps are generally safe, but they can leave you vulnerable to hacking. To limit your exposure, don’t use Instagram or Facebook to sign into other apps.
  • Keep an eye on login activity: Instagram keeps track of the devices used to log into your profile. Review these devices and remove any you don’t recognize.
  • Use the autosave feature (just in case): Instagram’s autosave feature saves a copy of your photos to your camera roll. While it won’t save your followers or your captions in case your account is hacked and deleted, at least you won’t lose your photos.
  • Don’t click on links you don’t know: Links in texts, emails, and direct messages can open the door to malware and phishing attacks. If you don’t know who sent you a link (and why they sent it), don’t click on it.

Safeguard yourself from Instagram hackers

Protecting your privacy on social media is an important part of staying safe online. Norton 360 Deluxe features a built-in VPN to encrypt your connection and protect the personal information you send and receive online. Plus, it features an easy-to-use password manager to let you create and store secure passwords and ironclad malware protection to help keep your device safe and block hackers.

FAQs about Instagram hacks

Want to learn more about how Instagram hacks happen and what to do if you lose access to your account? Read on.

How do I secure a hacked Instagram account I can still access?

You’ll want to start by changing your password to something stronger than it was before. Then, look at your account information and correct any changes the hacker made. After that, turn on 2FA to make it harder for hackers to access your account and remove access to any unauthorized devices and third-party apps.

How do I secure a hacked Instagram account I can’t access?

In the app, look for the option to get help resetting your password, then follow the instructions. You’ll receive an email from Instagram that you can use to sign back in. If that doesn’t work, request help from their support team.

Can an Instagram video call be hacked?

Not really. But if a hacker has access to your account or you accept a call from them, they may be able to monitor your activity or attempt to learn more about you to crack your passwords and security questions.

Can I be hacked through Instagram DMs?

Kind of. A hacker can send you a link to a phishing site or install malware on your device. To be safe, don’t click on links that look strange or are from someone you don’t know and trust.

Can I contact Instagram about a hacked account?

Yes. If you head over to Instagram’s hacked account page, you can request support.

How long does it take to get your hacked Instagram account back?

It depends. If a hacker accessed your account without changing anything, you can get back in immediately. If they log in and change your password and recovery options, it can take a few days to a few weeks for Instagram support to verify your identity and restore your access.

Why do people hack Instagram?

There are several reasons why someone would want to hack an Instagram account. They may do it to find more personal information about someone, to cause problems for someone, as part of an Instagram scam, or simply because the hacker wants to.

Luis Corrons
  • Luis Corrons
Luis Corrons is a Security Evangelist for Gen (Avast, AVG, Avira, Norton) & leads boards at AMTSO & MUTE. He is a prominent speaker at industry events.

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc. 


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