Two weeks ago, my Instagram accounts were hacked. The hackers unfortunately got into both my personal and my business account. This meant for some time I had no access to either.
I eventually managed to recover my personal account, but couldn’t get back into my business one.
This is obviously very disappointing. I’ve chosen to turn it into a positive.
I’m back with a new account and have learnt a lot of lessons.
- What happened
- Dealing with Instagram
- Protecting your account
- Avoiding scammers
- The new account
Annoyingly, I don’t know exactly what happened still.
The first time I realised anything was wrong, was when I got a Facebook notification asking me to verify an unusual login on my account. I immediately blocked the login attempt and changed my password.
Unfortunately, I had linked my personal Instagram account to my Facebook account. While Facebook blocked the login, Instagram didn’t.
I was thrown out of this account and the username and password were changed almost immediately. They also changed the phone number on the account, meaning any recovery attempts didn’t reach me.
My business Instagram account had the same email address and password as my personal account (stupid, I know…). So, it didn’t take long for me to be thrown out of The Twenty Percent account too.
I’ll explain how I got back into my personal account later in this post. However, The Twenty Percent account was lost for good at this stage. I never regained access sadly.
Dealing with Instagram
Dealing with Instagram was incredibly frustrating.
There is no phone number, contact email or live chat option. You can only fill in online forms and hope for the best.
I did eventually manage to get through to a password reset option. But, it text the code to the hacker’s number so I couldn’t get in.
There was also an option to send a video selfie via an Instagram form which would prove the account was mine.
This worked on my personal account, but when I tried to get back into The Twenty Percent account, the hacker was still in there.
After realising I was also in the account, the hacker managed to disable the account so neither of us could use it.
I had no further luck reaching Instagram at this point, and still haven’t heard anything now. For this reason, I can only presume I have lost the account for good.
Protecting your account
This experience has taught me a lot about account security. Looking back, I now see I was too lax. I thought hackers were only interested in big accounts. My account couldn’t be at risk. This clearly isn’t the case.
The top tips I have learnt are:
- Turn on two factor authentication. I use a verification app for this for double security.
- Don’t use the same passwords and email addresses for multiple accounts.
- Change these passwords regularly (and not to anything obvious).
- Don’t use an email address too similar to your account name.
I Tweeted about my account being hacked. I was shocked by the volume of scammers that got in touch offering to ‘recover’ my account for me.
Wanting to find out the extent of the scamming, I messaged a few back. Straight away, they wanted personal details, paypal payments and bitcoin. There was no evidence any of them had any ability to recover the account or had reputable businesses.
Many people will be desperate to recover their accounts. Rightly or wrongly, social media is incredibly important to a lot of people.
These scammers are preying on people in a vulnerable position. Please do stay vigilant if you ever find yourself in a similar position.
Don’t fall victim to a scammer and lose even more than you already have.
The new account
I’m back with a new Instagram account.
It is frustrating going from nearly 1,000 followers to 40, but unfortunately this is the position I’m now in.
The new handle is @20PercentKatie – do come and say hi on there if you’re on Instagram. It will be great to help rebuild the mini community we had created.
Don’t forget to follow me on social media @Katie20Percent to keep up to date with all my latest posts.
Did you know I offer freelance writing services and personal finance workshops and talks for schools, workplaces and organisations? I also regularly feature in the media. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on Twitter @Katie20Percent if you’d like to find out more.
If you found this post about my Instagram account getting hacked interesting, please like it and share it on social media or with your friends. Has your Instagram account ever been hacked? What else could I do to secure my account? Comment your thoughts below, I’d love to hear them!