Instagram Hacked – How I recovered my account?

In case you found me MIA on Instagram, I had been hacked!

On 19th October morning I received a DM from a genuine-looking Instagram account called the ‘Instagram Help Centre’ Mind you, this was a very genuine looking account, and the hacker was pretending to be an Instagram team member, informing me my Instagram account was selected to get the blue tick verification!

As you can see from the screenshot below, the message looked quite legit, and they had asked me to fill a form with basic details.

I then received a WhatsApp message asking for the 2-factor code I received to verify that my account is mine so that they can add the blue tick to my account within 24 hours, he also mentioned not to change any details on my account till then. This to me felt a bit weird.. so I tried to check my account, I was shocked… I got kicked out of my own account and was unable to log in!

I freaked out and confronted the hacker and he was asking me to provide my Gmail password, I quickly blocked him. And immediately went to change my password on Gmail so he doesn’t have access to my details.

Remember to first calm down, and that you can get your account back with the proper steps. Block all communications with the hacker, do not communicate with them and do not get another hacker to help you with this, all hackers are criminals, keep that in mind!

What I did to Recover my account on Instagram.
I then quickly went to Instagram and clicked on:

1. Forgotten password
2. After Entering my email address and click next
3. I clicked on Request support below

4. Once you click on request support, click on my account was hacked and fill in the request form mentioning your details for the tech team to get back to you.

5. Once you submit your request, you should receive an auto-response email from the Security Team at Instagram asking you to help them verify your identity. You’ll be asked for one or both of the following:

  • A photo of yourself holding a paper with a handwritten code we’ve provided you.
  • The email address or phone number you signed up with and the type of device you used at the time of sign up (example: iPhone, Android, iPad, other).

After you submit your verification details, you should receive an email with a link to login, unfortunately in my case, the tech team was still using the hacker’s username instead of mine (The hacker had changed all my details)

I immediately logged in using the link sent to me (despite the username being wrong) and I noticed my display image was removed, my username on display was changed and all the settings were changed. Which meant no one was able to search for my account they get a message saying they need to be (99 years old to view my account)!

6. First thing I did as I was able to login (despite my details were wrong) I quickly re-activated my 2 factor code and changed my password.

7. I now had to change the minimum age on my account, since no one was able to search for me unless they were 99 years of age! You can either add a minimum age or remove any restrictions on age and country.

8. Once I removed the minimum age restriction, my friends were able to see me, but were still unable to search for me manually on Instagram since my user name was still the hackers changed username.

9. I clicked on edit profile and tried to change back my username but was unable to as Instagram had a restriction of 14 days to change back to my orignial username. So I changed it to the closest username which was from @sarashafni to @sarahshafni (Added a H)

10. After adding back my display image and informed all my followers on my story that my account was hacked (most of them would assume you have blocked them because they wont be able to see your account). So make sure to inform your followers on your story that your account was hacked.

Now, I know this blog post may seem long, but trust me this will help you. Because the one thing I realized when I was desperate and was in trouble, was that the Instagram/Facebook tech team did very little to help.

I had to research and figure this all out myself..was a very highly stressful situation and would never wish on this on anyone… These hackers are cowards, their jobless, and especially during this covid period you can see a massive increase in cybercrimes. There is a major hacking spree going on on Instagram and anyone can fall victim to this. These hackers keep changing their scenarios and target growing and popular accounts.

A quick guide below to help you protect your account.

  • Activate your 2-factor code and do not share this with anyone, even if someone from your loved one’s account is requesting this.
  • Do not click on any suspicious links, even links that look genuine always double-check them on to see if these links are safe.
  • Keep updating your Instagram application for the latest security updates
  • Protect your email, keep changing passwords every couple of months
  • Do not use the same password on all your other social media.

12 thoughts on “Instagram Hacked – How I recovered my account?

  1. Does this email sound right?


    Thanks for contacting us. Before we can help, we need you to confirm that you own this account. Please reply to this message and send us a photo of yourself holding a hand-written copy of the code below:


    Please make sure that the photo you send:

    – Includes the above code hand-written on a clean sheet of paper, followed by your full name and username
    – Includes both your hand that’s holding the sheet of paper and your entire face
    – Is well-lit, and is not too small, dark or blurry
    – Is attached to your reply as a JPEG file

    Keep in mind that even if this account doesn’t include any pictures of you or is used to represent someone or something else, we won’t be able to help until we receive a photo that meets these requirements.

    The Instagram Team


  2. Hi Sarah, it’s Maggie. Thank you for the reply. The Instagram post that you sent me isn’t helpful. I’m trying to look for the request support form that you mentioned above. Unfortunately, I’m from Canada. Can you tell me how I can find the request support form that you mentioned above? Thanks


    1. Once you click forgotten password

      Click on find your account where you have to add your email add. Instead of this click on the blue text below which says ‘Need More Help?’

      There should be a section that says request support. Select my account got hacked and request support.

      This should take you to a request form.


      1. Hi Sarah, I don’t see the blue text that says “‘Need More Help?’. I think it’s because of where I’m from. Any suggestions?


      2. Yes Maggie I think it’s because you’re in Canada. You can also try to email Facebook regarding this since their all connected. Under help and support click on report a problem and mention your issue. I’m sure they will forward it to the instagram team. I really hope this works for you.


      3. Hi Sarah,

        Can you tell me how I can report a hacked Instagram account to Facebook? Would you mind telling me Facebook’s email address?




      4. Maggie from your Facebook menu with all the shortcuts listed. Scroll down to Help and Support and then click on the option report a problem -> continue to report a problem -> include the diagnostic -> select profile and type your problem and submit

        Unfortunately they don’t have an email address


  3. Hi Sarah, I went to something went wrong. Then I see a bunch of options under how can we improve? What would hacked Instagram account be under? Which one should I select? Ads? Articles? Audio Channels? Classes? Climate Science Center? Collectibles? Comments/likes/reactions/shares? Community chats? Composer/Posting? Crowdsourcing? Events? Facebook Pay? Friending? Gaming? Goodwill/Memories? Groups? Health? Home Page? Internationalization? Jobs? Lightweight Groups? Live? Log In? Marketplace? Media Viewer? Mentions? Messenger? Messenger Kids? Navigation? New Pages Experience? New User Experiences? News Feed? Notifications? Pages? Performance? Privacy? Profile? Reels? Rooms? Search? Settings? Social good/fundraisers/safety check? Stories? Videos? Voting Information Center? Watch? Other? Sorry if the options are a lot, but that’s what’s under “how can we improve”?


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