Getting hacked sucks. The invasion of privacy is bad enough, but when hackers decide to lock you out of your account entirely, that’s just cruel. Losing access to your years of Instagram photos, stories, and DMs can be heartbreaking, and, until now, it was usually permanent. Luckily, that might not be the case anymore.
There’s more than one way to lose the keys to your Instagram, but the worst is hacking. Someone figures out your Instagram password, or tricks you into handing over your 2FA code, and suddenly they’re inside your account. A quick password change, maybe even a new 2FA method, and you’re locked out of your account for good.
But hackers aren’t the root of all Instagram lockouts. They won’t let you in without the password, of course. And if you lose access to the email or phone number you use to reset your password, or to send your login codes to, you’re stuck staring at your Instagram page from the outside, as if you didn’t own it to begin with.
The next time you lose access to your Instagram account, whether you were hacked or forgot your password, there’s hope. Instagram recently announced a new site, instagram.com/hacked, which walks you through any available steps to recovering your account. While the URL has “hacked” in the name, it’s really for all lockout scenarios, including forgetting your password, losing access to your email or phone number, someone creating a false account with your information, or if your account was disabled. Instagram even has a “Something else” category in case your situation isn’t listed.
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It isn’t a guarantee, but at least Instagram and Meta have an official channel for requesting help with a lockout. In the past, you’d have to battle regular Instagram support, which usually didn’t help: I’ve seen friends lose accounts to hackers with no recourse from Instagram, and it’s frustrating. Hopefully, this feature is an improvement.
In the same announcement post, Meta revealed its “Request help from friends” feature would be rolling out to everyone. If you do lose access to your account, as long as you can provide a previous password for the account, anyone can now choose two Instagram friends to help confirm their identity.
Unfortunately, scammers are on to this feature, so watch out. They’ll take over someone’s Instagram, then send you a DM from their account saying Instagram made you one of their recovery accounts. This is a lie: If the person lost access to the account, they wouldn’t be able to DM you from said account. Rather, Instagram will be the one to reach out to you if your friend has an account issue.