I was recently hacked on Instagram and spent a panicked 12 hours trying to figure out what to do and how to get my account back.
Here’s my story of what went down, how I got my account back and what you can do to prevent yourself from getting hacked.
(My account has since been reinstated – and I am no longer hacked, so if you blocked or unfollowed me, please come on back!!)
Here’s how I got hacked on Instagram:
First, I answered a riddle that a friend posted in her stories.
Whoever answered first, would receive $500 from one of her sponsors. Because it was a friend, I wasn’t suspicious.
Then, asked for my email address to send the money to, and she also asked me to send her a code that she would text me.
(This should have been my first clue that something was off).
I asked, “Is this a scam?”
She replied, “I would never do that.”
(Of course, it wasn’t her, it was the person who had hacked her account, and who was about to hack mine).
At the same time as this was happening, I was watching a live webinar and writing emails.
(Note to self – stop multitasking and be present with one thing at a time).
Next, I received a text which she asked me to screenshot and send to her.
Again, another clue that I should have picked up on, but I did this willingly and without thinking. Had I stopped to read the screenshot I sent her, I would have seen it was a code to get into my account.
As soon as I sent the screenshot, they accessed my account and immediately removed my emails and phone number, added two-factor verification to their account, and poof, I was hacked.
Because I was in my emails, I started getting emails from Instagram that “someone has changed your email, if this wasn’t you, please secure your account.”
But of course, it was too late to secure my account.
What happened next surprised me.
The moment I realized what was happening, I could feel the shame rushing through my body. I felt SO stupid.
Feeling stupid, is a feeling I have avoided my entire life. I’m not comfortable with that feeling – hence the immense emotional reaction that was triggered by this incident.
….how could I be so stupid?
…why on earth did you do that?
…see? You are stupid. I’ve been saying that for years.
Feeling stupid, is a massive trigger for me, and it’s so deep, I didn’t even know it was there—until it was.
During this incident, everyone around me told me I shouldn’t feel shame or think I was stupid, which was well intended, but entirely unhelpful.
“You shouldn’t feel shame,” they said.
I know what they were saying— there was no need for shame, it can happen to any one of us, but it’s all I felt.
It was my wise daughter who said, “Mum, of course, you feel dumb. I get that. I would too.”
We need permission to feel our fucking feelings. We need to lean into those sensations and sit with them, instead of shutting them down for another couple of decades.
During this whole incident with Instagram, I processed a reservoir of shame that I’ve been holding onto for years.
And then I leaned into my feelings and I gave them FULL permission to be there.
If you wanna process repressed emotion, you need to move towards it, not away, as we’ve been taught.
How to process your feelings, lesson 101:
- Look at the wound
- Acknowledge it’s presence
- Breath into the sensations in your body
- Drop out of the mind and sit with yourself
- Meet the emotion with love and compassion. “I see you. Can I sit with you? Can I be with you?”
All of this is core in my own self-coaching practice, and the coaching I do with my clients.
For example, when you raise your rates and tap into your feelings of self-doubt, or experience thoughts of “who will pay?” you can’t just shut down the thoughts and feelings.
We have to address the blocks at their root, on an internal level, otherwise, we’ll continue to bump up against them again and again.
That’s why when you work with me as your coach, it’s an inside-out approach. We do the inner work, to create a more aligned (and profitable) business strategy.
You can’t not feel the things.
Ironically, it’s by feeling them, that we heal them. I’ll say it again.
It’s by feeling them, that we heal.
So next time someone tells you that they feel a certain way, let them feel it. Same goes for you.
Okay, back to my Instagram account:
How I got my Instagram account back
Within an hour of the hack, I followed the prompts on Instagram to recover a hacked account. It included uploading a video selfie of myself.
This only works if you have an account that has LOADS of photos on you. If you don’t have photos of yourself, you’ll probably not get your account back.
12 hours later, I received an email from Instagram saying my account was mine again, with prompts to follow to get myself back on with my emails.
It wasn’t very intuitive to get it set up again, but I slowed it down, went through the prompts and five minutes later, my account was mine again.
I checked my DMs and they had not been compromised, so I’m confident that none of my friends and followers were hacked as a result.
Phewf. Disaster adverted.
7 ways to protect yourself from hackers on IG:
- Set up two-factor authentication on your account and use a third-party authenticator. The hacker was actually able to access my account a second time, because he’d connected his Facebook account, but once I had the third-party app installed, this blocked his third attempt.
- Follow all the security protocols in IG about strong passwords and other suggestions
- If you enter a contest or a friend DMs you and asks you to send them anything, ask them to send you a voice memo to confirm it’s them. Or contact them on another platform to check that their account has not been hacked.
- If you do get hacked, tell everyone, to prevent them from getting hacked
- Make sure there are photos of yourself on your feed, so you can recover your account
- This one seems obvious now, but never screenshot anything you’ve been texted and send it over the DMs
- Don’t click on any links, even if they look familiar. I’ve heard so many stories about people having their bank accounts compromised because they thought it was from the bank or phone company.
I did a bunch of google searches and came up with almost nothing, but this one video that was sent to me by a friend, helped break down the process.
If you lose your account on instagram, this video is worth a watch.
So, what else did I learn from this experience?
Here are some additional lessons learned from losing my Instagram account after being hacked:
- Do one thing at a time
- Slow the fuck down. There are no medals for rushing
- If all your best content is on a platform you don’t own, and you get hacked or something changes with the platform, you lose your content.
- Always write your posts in a google doc first that you own, and even better, keep content on a blog or podcast that you OWN. This was perhaps the biggest lesson for me, I realized how much I’d been pouring myself into a platform that someone else controls (hence this blog post!!)
- Your triggers are your biggest healers and teachers, if you allow them to be. You can learn a lot by asking yourself , “What about this feeling feels familiar?” “Is this pattern new, or old?”
- Stored energy can be moved if you stay with the feeling, instead of shutting it down.
- Save your reels to your camera roll so you have a backup in case you lose your account
I hope this post serves to educate you on more than just how to prevent yourself from getting hacked and how to get your account back, if you do get hacked, like I did.
Take a moment to reflect on what triggers and blocks you may be avoiding and ask yourself what you are trying NOT to feel.
And if you’re looking for a coach to navigate you through that process, and to help take you to the next level, book a call with me to chat.
Otherwise, get on my newsletter so you can get blogs like this in email format, with all my tips and tricks, delivered right to your inbox.
Sending you so much love,
P.S. Have you ever been hacked? Do you have any horror stories or words of hope? Feel free to share in the comments, and if you found this post useful, go ahead and share it with your friends. I appreciate you!