How to Recover Hacked Social Media Accounts
Hacked social media accounts happen more and more. A hacked account should be addressed immediately before a hacker has the opportunity to cause damage or gain access to more of your accounts. However, people often find themselves unable to recover their accounts simply from a lack of guidance on what to do.
Tips Before Your Account Is Compromised
Taking the following security measures can be beneficial for preventing hacked accounts:
- Change passwords regularly
- Create unique passwords with a mix of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols that are free of personal information, common words or sequences
- Use different passwords on individual accounts
- If you’ve been hacked and use the same password on other accounts, go through and individually change that password on each account to avoid being hacked again
- Hackers often access social media accounts after first hacking an email account, so be sure to change your email account passwords as well
- Revoke access from any suspicious third-party apps
- Enable login verification when possible, providing two-factor authentication in order to further protect your accounts
- Never give out your password
- When you have recovered access to your account, be sure to review your Account Settings and update all information including changing email addresses and passwords
Check out our post on password security for more details on creating and storing secure passwords.
The first step in recovering a hacked Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest account is to check if you are still able to log in to your account. If you are able to do so, the hacker has not yet changed the password to lock you out and you should immediately go into your Account Settings and change your password.
Hopefully, you will be able to stop a hacker before they are able to get further, but if not, take the following steps to recover your hacked account:
If you believe your Facebook account has been hacked or compromised, here are the steps to take to get it back.
Select the “My Account Is Compromised” button to begin the process.
You will then be instructed to type in your Email Address or Phone Number to search for your account and then hit Search. Be sure to type in your email or phone number in order to easily identify your account. Entering your name will not be effective as multiple people in the Facebook community could have your same name.
Facebook will then search for matching accounts. If the information you entered does not produce your account in the results, try entering something different from what you originally entered. For example, if you entered a phone number and it did not work, try entering your email address instead. An email address will be the most effective way to locate your account.
Facebook will ask you to Enter A Current or Old Password.
If your account has been hacked, the password was probably changed so you will not know the current password, but you can enter the “old” password, which is the one you used before your account was hacked.
Because you have technically entered an old password, Facebook will then tell you, “Sorry! You entered an old password.”
At this point, you can select the “Reset My Password” button in order to move forward.
Facebook will ask you how you would like to reset your password, typically done by sending a link to the email associated with the account.
As with the password, the primary email address was likely changed when it was hacked. You do not want to send that link to the hacker’s account, so instead select the “No Longer Have Access To These?” option in the bottom left-hand corner.
Facebook will then ask, “How Can We Reach You?”, at which point you can enter and confirm a New Email or Phone.
Enter the email address that you would like as the primary email on the account and you should quickly receive a link to change the password.
Follow the instructions provided in that email to reset your password and regain control of your hacked Facebook account.
On rare occasions, additional verification, such as a drivers license, may be required. If this is the case, you can simply snap a photo or scan a copy of your drivers license and upload it as prompted.
Instagram accounts are among the top hacked accounts for social media. If you believe your Instagram has been hacked, here are a few things you can do.
If you still have access to your account and the email address associated with the account, you can go through the steps to reset the password through an emailed link.
Go to the Login screen, enter your Username, and select the “Forgot” option in the Password section.
The “Reset Password” page will appear, requesting the email or username linked to your account. Enter that email address, type in the reCAPTCHA words, and select the “Reset Password” button at the bottom. Instagram will send you an email with the appropriate steps to take to reset your password.
If you believe your username was changed when hacked and are not able to log in or locate your Instagram account, you may be able to get somewhere using the app.
Open your Instagram app on your mobile device. On the Login screen, select the “Get Help Logging In” option directly below the login fields.
The “Trouble Logging In?” screen will appear. Enter your original username and then make sure to select the “Need More Help” option that appears below the “Send Login Link” box. This will redirect you to the “Request Support” page from where you can submit a support request. If you fail to enter your original username, the app will redirect you to an “Account Assistance” page from where you will need to take extra steps to make progress.
If your account has been compromised, you must first enter the Email You Signed Up With and then enter a Contact Email (If Different). It could be beneficial to enter a different contact email in order to ensure that the request support goes directly to you without risk of going to your hacker.
Instagram provides three options following the email fields: Company or Brand Account, Personal Account With Photos Of Me, and Personal Account Without Photos Of Me. Selecting the most appropriate option will help Instagram to more efficiently verify your account.
Select the “My Account Was Hacked” option. In the “Any Additional Details” box, you can enter in a short description of what you believe has happened. Be sure to include pertinent information, so that Instagram can better resolve the problem.
You should hear back from Instagram shortly after with a verification code and instructions. Instagram will instruct you to reply to the email with an attached photo of yourself and with a hand-written note including the code, your full name, and the account username. Instagram matches up that picture with a picture from your account in order to verify that you are truly the account holder. If you do not have pictures of yourself on your account, verifying your account will be more difficult and potentially not possible.
If you’ve noticed suspicious or unusual activity on your Twitter account or are unable to log in, take the following steps to regain control of your tweets.
Request a Password Reset.
Twitter will ask you to enter the email, phone number, or username associated with the account. Twitter recommends entering both the username and email address. It will then provide you with the option to Email A Link To (Your Email Address).
If you still have access to the email given, select Continue to receive an email with the link and instructions for resetting the password.
If you no longer have access to that email, or if you do not recognize the email address produced, select the “I Don’t Have Access To Any Of These” option found under the Continue button.
You will be redirected to the “Login Issues” page from where you can Request Help Signing In To Your Account.
Type in your Twitter username and select Search.
Twitter will ask you to enter Your Email. Make sure to enter an email address that you currently have access to as this will be the means through which Twitter contacts you.
In the second field, “Description Of Problem”, take the time to describe the issue that you are having so that Twitter is able to more effectively address the problem.
You will then be directed to enter a Google reCAPTCHA in order to verify that you are human.
Under the “Login Issues” page, you can also select the “Try Entering A Phone Number Instead” option found at the bottom left-hand side of the page.
Under this option, you must first select your Country/Region and then enter Your Phone Number where Twitter will send you an SMS text message with a confirmation code needed to continue (Standard SMS text message fees will apply).
Follow the instructions provided via email or after entering the code received via text message to recover your Twitter account.
Your Pinterest account was likely hacked if you begin to see boards or pins that you didn’t add, received an email about a change you didn’t make, or your account has been placed on Safe Mode
Pinterest will always send an email when you change your email address, username, or password, or if a login was made from a computer or place they do not recognize. If you received an email about a change or login you did not make, your account was likely hacked. In that email, Pinterest will provide you with the option to “Lock Your Account” if the actions taken were not performed by you. Afterwards, you will need to Reset Your Password.
Your account will be placed on Safe Mode if Pinterest notices suspicious activity. Safe Mode locks your account protecting your pins and preventing any further unauthorized changes or actions via your account. In order to unlock your account from Safe Mode, the password must be reset.
If you’ve noticed unusual activity on your Pinterest account, but it has not yet been placed on Safe Mode, you should still Change Your Password immediately.
Resetting Your Pinterest Password:
Pinterest will ask you to enter Your Email, Name, or Username in order to Find Your Pinterest Account. At this point, you will need to enter the original information associated with the account. If Pinterest cannot find your account with the information you choose to enter, attempt to enter something different. For example, if you enter an email address first, try entering your name next.
If you enter an Email Address, Pinterest will ask to send an email to the email address provided in order to reset the password.
- If you currently have access to that email, select the red “Send A Password Reset Email” option and then follow the instructions given in that email.
- If you cannot access the email address originally associated with your account, select the “Can’t Access Your Email?” icon found directly above the email entry field. This will redirect you to the “Login Trouble” page from where you can choose the appropriate reason for your problem. Unfortunately, if you do not have access to that email address, you will likely not be able to recover your account. Pinterest recommends starting a new account instead.
If you enter your Name or Username, Pinterest will list possible account matches directly under the name entry field. Select the “This Is Me” option for the correct account. Pinterest will request to Send A Password Reset Email to the account email listed underneath the account name or username. Select “Send” if you have access to that email. As mentioned above, you can select the “Can’t Access Your Email?” icon available at the top from where you will potentially be able to further troubleshoot.
If you are unable to access your email, you can Contact Pinterest for further assistance. Select the appropriate option under the “What Do You Need Help With?” option, followed by the most accurate response under Tell Us More. Pinterest will provide you with suggestions on steps to take, but you are also able to send Pinterest a message by selecting the red “I Still Need Help” button at the bottom of the page.
You should hear from Pinterest quickly with further assistance and options in recovering your hacked Pinterest account.
Note: If your account is linked to Facebook, you will need to log in with Facebook to make any account changes.
Your Google account was likely compromised or hacked if you
- Received an email or notification about unusual logins or changes to the account
- Stopped receiving emails
- Notice a red bar at the top of your account that says, “We’ve detected suspicious activity in your account.”
- Find unrecognized payment options on your Wallet account or unapproved payment transactions
- Receive complaints of spam mail sent from your email address
- Notice any activity that you did not perform yourself including sent messages, changed or unusual account settings
If your Google account has been hacked, but you are still able to sign in to your account, then you must change your password immediately. You can sign in to your Google account using your original login information and password, and then change your password.
Under the Password & Sign-In Method, click on Password to begin the process. You will first be asked to enter your original password in order to verify that it is you. You will then be directed to enter and confirm your new password. If you cannot remember your current password, select the “Forgot Password?” icon and Google will ask questions to help verify that the account is yours before allowing you to change the password.
Google recommends performing a Security Checkup to review your account activity and information and update security settings in order to improve and strengthen protection of your account. A Security Checkup will help to ensure that the hacker is not able to access your account again in the future.
If you are still seeing suspicious activity on your account after changing your password and completing the Security Checkup, you might consider checking for a possible virus on your computer. The hacker could be accessing your computer remotely through a virus. Installing anti-virus software will typically resolve problems with a virus.
If your Google account has been hacked, but you can no longer sign in, you will need to follow the steps under Account Support to verify that the account is yours.
Google will instruct you to Enter The Email Address Or Phone Number You Use To Sign In To Google. You can also select the “Find My Account” icon found under the entry field in order to enter a recovery email of phone number associated with your account.
You will then be asked to Enter The Last Password You Remember or Try A Different Question. If you choose to try a different question, you can choose to have Google send an email with a verification code to a recovery email address, or by selecting “Try A Different Question” again, you can enter a different email address that you are able to check now for a verification code. You will then receive an email with detailed instructions on how to proceed.
If you are unable to sign in to your account, you can select the “Learn More/Request Google’s Help” where you are able to Select The Issue that most closely matches your situation and receive guidance for accessing your account.
If you are seeing the red bar across the top of your screen that says, “We’ve Detected Suspicious Activity In Your Account,” you should click the link in the bar in order to review your devices and account activity. Taking action quickly after Google notifies you of unauthorized activity will allow you regain control of your account before a hacker has the opportunity to change account settings.
With any hacked account, the most important step is to act quickly. Taking action immediately increases the chances of recovering your account without a frustrating, drawn-out process. It is also important to remember that, unfortunately, account recovery is not guaranteed. Follow the Security Tips listed at the beginning of this guide to best prevent a hacked account.