Hacked Social Media Account

Learn how to tell if your social media account has been compromised and steps to take to secure it.

Step 1:Recognize

Red Flags of a Hacked Social Media Account

There are a few warning signs that your social media account has been hacked:

  • You notice strange posts or messages on your account that you didn’t write.
  • Your account password suddenly changes and you can’t log in.
  • You get strange messages or friend requests from people you don’t know.
  • Your account settings are changed and you can’t change them back.
  • You notice that your profile picture has been changed without your knowledge.
  • You start getting spam messages or comments on your posts.
  • Your account is suddenly deactivated or suspended for no apparent reason.
  • You can’t log in to your account from a different device or location.
  • You get an error message when you try to log in, even though you’re using the correct password.
  • Your friends tell you they’ve been receiving strange messages from your account.

Step 2:Immediate Actions

If you suspect that your social media account is hacked, it is important to take action immediately:

  • Change your password immediately and choose a strong, unique password that you haven’t used before.
  • Enable multi factor authentication if it’s an option. This will add an extra layer of security to your account.
  • Report it to the social media platform.
  • Review your account settings and change them back to the way you want them, if necessary.
  • Check your profile picture and change it if it’s been changed without your knowledge.
  • Delete any strange messages or posts from your account.
  • Unfriend or block any suspicious users who have sent you friend requests or messages.
  • If you’re still having trouble logging in or accessing your account, contact customer support for help.
  • Be extra careful with your personal information and be on the lookout for any signs of identity theft.
  • Change your passwords for other online accounts, especially if you use the same password for multiple websites.

Step 3:Report

Reporting any type of cybercrime, including hacked social media accounts, is imperative to help others avoid being scammed. As a society, the more people that report online scams and fraud, the more national reporting data that is collected, and the better chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease cybercrime.

Step 4:Recover

How to Prevent Your Social Media Account from Being Hacked in the Future

  • Don’t click on any links or open any email attachments that you weren’t expecting.
  • Take advantage of all security features the social media platform supplies, such as multi factor authentication, security questions and password recovery.
  • Be cautious when asked to provide personal information.
  • Don’t log in to external apps using your social media account. The quizzes and games may be fun, but they can also compromise your account.
  • Be aware of personal information you share on social media. Oftentimes, hackers can use information you share on social media to answer your security questions.
  • Don’t use public networks. Instead access the internet through your cellular data plan.
  • If you want to use public networks, use a virtual public network (VPN). A VPN is a type of networking technology that allows users to create a secure connection in public. VPNs can be used to access remote resources, encrypt traffic, and hide your IP address.
  • Don’t jailbreak or root your devices, which can compromise security features built into the operating system or app.

Take 5 Steps for Better Online Security

It’s important to strengthen your online security to help avoid all types of online scams. Take action to improve your digital posture by following these steps:

  1. Implement Multi Factor Authentication (MFA): Passwords are generally easy for scammers to crack, and even if you use strong passphrases, there’s still the possibility that a cybercriminal can obtain your passphrase in a data breach. Implementing MFA is a great way to maximize your security and ensure that you are the only one who can gain access to your accounts. MFA should be implemented on all accounts where it is available. Check your account’s security settings to see if it is something you can set up.
  2. Update Your Privacy Settings: Privacy settings allow you to control your personal information (name, address, phone number, date of birth, financial details, photos or videos, etc) and how that information is used. Review your privacy settings on all of your accounts including your social media accounts. Consider restricting who can see your friends list, contacts, photos and posts.
  3. Activate Automatic Updates: Automatic updates are a set of changes to an app, software or operating system that are automatically pushed by the developer to fix or improve it. Oftentimes, cybercriminals take advantage of security flaws to plant malicious software on your devices. By activating automatic updates, you will automatically patch security vulnerabilities to protect your data.
  4. Create Strong Passphrases: A strong passphrase is a string of unrelated words separated by hyphen, space, period, capitalized first letter or number. Use passphrases that are longer than 15 characters and include multiple words that do not have any obvious connection between them. The key to passphrases is randomness. Don’t repeat your passphrases between accounts and consider using a password manager to help you remember.
  5. Learn the Elements of a Phishing Attempt: Familiarize yourself with the elements of a phishing email. Phishing emails tend to include a sense of urgency and multiple grammar and spelling errors. If they are asking you to reveal personal information, be suspicious. If you get a strange email, try contacting the company another way to confirm they sent that email. If the email is suspicious, mark it as spam.

TestimonialHear from Other Victims

Without Fightcybercrime.org, I don't know if I would have been able to react as quickly to protect my personal information.
Mary - Indianapolis, IN

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