Recovering a hacked Instagram is possible, even in cases where the scammer changes the account name. However, this is not an easy task and may take a few days. Situations like this usually arise from contacts of people pretending to be from social network support or offering suspicious services, such as recovering deleted messages. Without knowing that this is a scam, the victim hands over the password and paves the way for fraud.
Next, how to identify this type of problem and what to do to avoid and recover a hacked Instagram account.
Instagram Hacked: How Does this Kind of Scam Work?
Instagram hacking scams can use different baits to attract victims, such as high issues, obscene comments, and even the promise of a verified Instagram account. This type of scamming simulates real profiles to steal account data and ask for cash ransom. In this case, criminals usually visit a user with many followers because of the importance they have for the owner. The tactic involves convincing the person to hand over their password, and for this, the invaders can, for example, impersonate an attendant of the social network support.
The scam is not new, some victims had their Instagram profiles hacked and were blackmailed by criminals.
In this case, the owner of a profile with 21,000 followers made an Instagram account verification request. Soon, she received a private message from a supposed social network support profile asking for her password to continue the procedure. Without realizing it was a scam, she ended up delivering the profile access data. The next day, the user saw that her account had been hacked and received e-mails from Instagram warning that the password and registration e-mail had been changed. That’s when the criminal started to contact her by e-mail and WhatsApp warning that she would only return the profile if she paid a certain amount.
The other influencer had an account with 11 thousand followers. In her case, the message passing through Instagram was sent via WhatsApp. After entering her data, her profile was also hacked and the criminals changed their username several times to make recovery even more difficult. Then, they continued the extortion process, stating that they would only return the account after the payment of the so-called “ransom”.
Extortion at the end of the invasion is common in cases like these. However, the approach of the scammer may change at the beginning. Instead of pretending to be an Instagram employee, the perpetrator may also offer suspicious services that require the user to surrender the password, such as retrieving messages and images or tracking the profiles of others. In any case, always be suspicious if they ask for your profile’s access data and under no circumstances reveal your password.
What are the risks?
Although profiles with many followers are more wanted by scammers, who try to extort the owners, common accounts can also be a target of scams. In such cases, instead of asking for a ransom to return the account, the perpetrator may impersonate the user to ask for money from friends and family or use sensitive information in private conversations as a means of extortion. The attacker can also test the same password in multiple services to try to take over more of the same person’s accounts, expanding the scope of the attack.
How to know if Instagram is hacked?
Victims of such scams are usually aware of the fraud when they receive alerts about password changes and Instagram e-mails. When this data is changed, the user is unable to log into the account and can no longer create another password – the link for resetting, after all, goes to the new e-mail address registered.
This way, you have to be aware of suspicious messages and not give the password to anyone. Instagram warned that the social network never contacts users through the application, and will never request your account password.
Communication is always by e-mail and can have authenticity checked by the user. When receiving a support message, the recommendation is to verify that the content is the same as it appears in the “Settings > Security > Instagram Emails” menu of the app. This section shows all the addresses used by Instagram to communicate with users. Messages from supposed employees by DM or by email that does not match what appears in the application, should not be addressed.
How to recover a hacked Instagram profile
Hack victims cannot reset the password on their own, but Instagram ensures that it is very likely that the profile can be recovered. The user can first try to retrieve access via Facebook or SMS. Also, you can click on “Reverse this change” in the email that alerts you to the change of registration email.
Instagram also warns that messages may come in English or another language if the criminal has changed the account language. In this case, the tip is to use Google Translator to read the content.
If it is not possible to recover the account by these means, you must report the case to Instagram. To do this, just access the application and click on “Need more help?” below the login fields. Then go to “Get help to enter”, fill out the form by checking the option “My account was hacked” and enter an email that only you have access to follow up the service.
According to Instagram, this account recovery process can take time, but the social network ensures that all messages are answered by the support and that people generally get their accounts back. Despite this, there are many complaints from users about the delay to resolve these situations.
In the case of those who depend on Instagram to work, as influencers, the waiting can be difficult. In these situations, however, there is not much to do, as only Instagram can help solve the problem and recover the account.
How to Secure Instagram Account
- Always suspect messages that ask for access to the profile. It is important to remember that Instagram never contacts users through the application, but the app can serve to verify that emails received from the support are indeed real. Also, the user should not click on links received from strangers, especially if the next step is to log in to your social network from a page with a different address from the official one.
- Avoid using social networks on shared computers. But, if necessary, make sure not to check the “Keep me logged in” box and remember to exit the account. Alternative applications can also be dangerous, so research the reputation of the service before authorizing access to Instagram on third-party sites.
- Users should also be careful with their passwords. Easy guess codes, can make it easier for the scammer to intrude. Passwords should be strong, with numbers, letters, and symbols, and should not be repeated elsewhere. It is necessary to have doubled attention to the e-mail password since an invasion there can compromise several social networks at once. Finally, activate two factors of authentication.