Updated: Aug 27, 2021
AUGUST 2021 EDIT: what fixed it for me was going through the “forgot password” prompts OVER AND OVER again until I got an email from Facebook! I was SO consistent and kept filling out the forms almost every hour. Everyone that’s messaged me has done this and it’s worked for them! You just wanna stay on top of it until it gets fixed. The facebook method will only work if you've ran an ad before – it may take days before the chat is available. So only use that method if you're willing to wait, or have ran an ad already.
Let's just say the morning of December 5th was a bit... stressful.
I had just finished a beautiful meditation and about 2 hours of personal development when I went to post a story on my Instagram and saw I had been logged out.
"well what the f*ck," I thought. I NEVER log out of my Instagram account.
I decide to check my email to see if it prompted me to change my password; I saw that along with 2 other emails telling me that my username had been changed, and my email removed, both from Instagram. Unfortunately, I was too late and couldn't secure my account.
There was ONE email in particular (not from instagram) that read "Instagram account hacked !" as the subject. Now maybe it's just me, but I always know there's something fishy going on when someone puts a space before a proper punctuation...
Come to find out, it's the person that hacked my account! They threatened to delete my content if I didn't comply to their rules:
Fork over $235
It had to be sent via cryptocurrency (like bitcoin)
Now trust me, if I knew they would recover my account safely, I would've sent $500, but I couldn't be sure. So, I did what any normal person who's seen any hostage situation on HBO would do: "send me proof that it's safe and I will send the money"
Not going to lie, I kinda felt like a badass, but the existential threat of my entire career crashing to a screeching halt took over that badass emotion pretty swiftly.
They ended up sending me a screenshot of my account with all the content, which had most of the characters in Russian.
The only thing was that they didn't have a timestamp on the screenshot, so for all I know they took that earlier on, then deleted the account. I explained this, then got the following reply: "Our interest is only in money. We don't need your account. We will restore it immediately after payment in 15 minutes. We will send you a login, password and instructions on how to protect your account"
In the meantime, I did what I knew best: I YouTubed and Googled the sh*t out of it.
Come to find out, tons of others have been in a similar situation as mine, and were successfully able to recover their accounts with the help of Instagram support. *cue sigh of relief*
So here's what I did:
HOW TO RECOVER YOUR HACKED INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT USING THE HELP CENTER PROMPTS
I went to the help section on my desktop and filled out a form following this specific link https://help.instagram.com/contact/272476913194545 (make sure you check the box that says you've already tried the Help Center steps, even if you haven't yet!). People recommend doing this a few times throughout the day; I would say once every hour just to be sure.
I also filled out the Deactivated Page form here https://help.instagram.com/contact/1652567838289083 (I had actually had my account wrongfully deactivated a few years back, so I knew this would get a response as well)
I sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining my issue (I got a response back saying this email is no longer valid, but that didn't keep me from emailing twice just in case)
I went through my Instagram app and followed the "forgot my password" and "need more help" prompts – okay, this is where things get weird. I had done this a few times before but for some reason a different screen popped up, and I believe this is the one that saved my account. Usually it will bring you straight to the help center, but the final time it brought me directly to a form I had never seen before. It asked me for some of my info, I entered it, and quickly got an email response. The response said this: "Hi, Hi, The account you're referring to has been removed. We're unable to restore accounts that have been permanently deleted. We're sorry for any inconvenience this causes. Thanks, The Instagram Team."
Now, normally I would've panicked at this point, but I had just watched 3 YouTube videos where people got the same email and were still able to recover their accounts. PLEASE KNOW YOUR ACCOUNT CANNOT BE DELETED FOREVER! There's always a back log... Anyways, let's continue.
I responded to the email saying that was incorrect and that I am more than willing to verify my information to prove I am the rightful owner of the account.
Less than a minute later, I get an email asking me to do just that (moral of the story, it's just an automated bot that doesn't know anything; don't freak out, just send the same response as I did)!
I quickly responded to the email with the information the Instagram Team requested, and only had to wait about an hour before the BELOVED email came through for me to re-access my account and change my credentials.
Now although this method worked, I actually found another method that works MUCH FASTER (seriously, I wish I knew this before I sent in about 200 Instagram forms to the help center).
Here's how the quick (and now preferred) method works:
TALK TO A FACEBOOK REPRESENTATIVE AND RECOVER YOUR HACKED INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT FAST
Login to Facebook and create a Business account (if you already have one, skip this step)
Set up an ad (if you've ran one before, skip this step too). You can run one for $5 just to get your ad account active! Here's a video that explains it easily: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eo1disWJyI4
Once you've set up your ad, go to the Business Help Center (linked here https://www.facebook.com/business/help)
Scroll down to "Find Answers or Contact Support" and click "Get Started
Click "Chat with a Representative"
Fill out the form! Remember, they think you need help with your ad account, so don't give too much away in the form.
Once you've sent in the form, you will be set up with a representative! Explain that you are not able to run ads for your account because your Instagram was recently hacked, that you need help recovering your hacked account, and that you are able to verify any information necessary to get it back.
If the rep will not help you (I have not experienced that yet) then just repeat steps 3-8 until you talk to someone who will!
Enjoy the sweet relief of recovering your account.
I've gotta say, getting hacked sucks a BIG one, but I am so happy I am able to help anyone who needs it now!