How To Check if Someone Else is Using your Instagram Account
More than ever, our social media accounts are prime targets for all sorts of online criminals. From hackers to scammers, our online activity is ripe for the taking when it comes to trying to make money in illicit ways using the data of other accounts. While using strong passwords and regularly updating your account info can help to keep your account safe, it goes without saying that it’s not a perfect solution. Millions of users around the world have had their account information stolen from various sources over the last several years, including Facebook, Google Plus, Equifax, and of course, Yahoo’s infamous 2013 hack, in which 3 billion accounts were breached and affected.
Whether through hacks or through poor security on the part of these companies, your data is scattered over the internet and there will always be risks involved with your online life. Instagram is no different; the company is owned by Facebook and has been hacked in the past, most recently in 2017 when up to six million accounts, including Selena Gomez’s, the most-followed account on the platform. With users constantly being targeted by hackers, scammers, and other users who just want to take your information from you, it’s important to note that taking your account back from those who want to cause harm to your day is totally possible. Let’s look at some of the tell-tale signs that your Instagram account has been hacked.
Signs Your Instagram Account was Compromised
Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t provide account updates when someone logs into your account the way, say, Google does. While Google sends your Gmail account information on a new login attempt anywhere in the world, if you’re hacked on Instagram, you’ll need to pay attention to your activity on the account. This means paying attention to any odd posts or direct messages sent from your account. Here are some straightforward signs you can look for to help pinpoint what’s going on with your account.
The most obvious sign that someone else is using your Instagram account is if you see account activity that isn’t yours. That can include uploads that you didn’t publish, followers you don’t recognize or people you are following that you don’t remember following. While not definitive by any stretch, they are an indicator that all may not be as it seems.
If you are a prolific user of Instagram, you may not notice an extra image or two, or an extra follower or two. If you don’t use it quite so much, those signs will be easier to spot.
Email from Instagram
If a change is requested to your Instagram account, you will be emailed at the address you registered to verify it was you. If you see one or more of these emails, chances are that your account has been hacked. If you do see an email like this, you need to move quickly to secure your account. If your email has also been compromised, the hacker will also see the email, use it to change your details and then delete the email so you don’t get to see it.
If you see an email from Instagram telling you that a change has been requested. Take action immediately. Do not follow the link in the email. Log into Instagram separately and secure your account.
Securing your Instagram account
Unlike Snapchat, Instagram allows multiple logins from multiple devices at once. Where usually you would be logged out if someone else logged in, you don’t get that in Instagram. So you have to depend on spotting unusual activity or that alert email from Instagram. It’s important to make sure you take responsibility on yourself to secure your Instagram account, as the company won’t always push you to take proactive steps in your own self-interest.
Use a secure password
If you suspect someone else is using your Instagram account, change the password right away. It is a simple step that takes less than a minute and will stop anyone being able to use your account.
- Log into Instagram from here.
- Enter your existing password and change it to something difficult.
- Save and log in using your new password.
Use a unique, difficult password or use a password manager to suggest something for you. Make it as difficult as possible while keeping it memorable. Or let the password manager do the work.
Turn on two-factor authentication
You should use two-factor authentication on every social network and every online account that offers it. Two-factor authentication helps to ensure that only you can log into your account, as you’ll receive a text on your smartphone with a confirmation code in order to log-in. This doesn’t just secure your account, but it also ensures that anyone attempting to log into your account automatically alerts you to their attempts, as you’ll receive a notice on your smart device. Here’s how to set it up.
- Log into Instagram and go to your profile.
- Select Two-Factor Authentication.
- Toggle on Require Security Code.
- Enter your phone number and select Next.
- Enter the code you are sent and select Next.
2FA (two-factor authentication) is now enabled and will ask for a code every time you log in.
Check authorized apps
Instagram allows third-party apps to utilize your account to offer features and benefits. If you recently added an app and then found your account had been compromised, you need to check what apps are allowed to access your account.
- Log into Instagram and navigate to Authorized Applications.
- Run through the list and disable any you don’t recognize or no longer need.
If someone else is using your Instagram account, they should now be locked out. If they gained access using an app, they will no longer be able to see what you’re doing or log into your account. You should now be able to use the social network freely and without having to worry about someone stealing your stuff!
Have you ever been hacked or had an account compromised? Noticed something wrong with your Instagram account? Tell us about your experience below!