When Sofia Vergara’s Instagram account was hacked recently, it was obviously a distressing time for the famous actress. After posting photos from her holiday with husband Joe Manganiello, her fellow Modern Family co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and his husband Justin Mikita, Vergara soon discovered her account had been hacked.
However, for someone who has a verified account, having your Instagram account hacked is far less stressful than for everyone else.
When Sofia Vergara discovered her account had been hacked, she posted the following message to her Twitter account to alert her fans.
Guys my instagram got hacked. Dont ansewer those idiots. Dont send them any info.we r after them.
— Sofia Vergara (@SofiaVergara) July 24, 2018
According to Time, the hacker has already posted a free giveaway offer to Sofia’s account. This post has since been removed, indicating that Instagram is dealing with the complaint.
However, if you are the average Instagram user and not verified, and your Instagram account is hacked, it is very likely that Instagram will not be so prompt with their help. In fact, they will likely not respond at all to your queries.
In the past, when a person got their Instagram account hacked, the help center had a section where you could report the issue and the hacked account would be logged and dealt with.
However, it seems that since there was a major Instagram breach back in August of last year, this function has been removed from the help center.
As Time explains, this breach exploited a bug in “Instagram’s application programming interface [which] allowed hackers to steal personal information from high-profile user accounts.” And it is since this patch that the link has been removed for users to report that their account has been hacked.
Now, if your account has been hacked and you aren’t a verified account, it is very hard to get in touch with Instagram directly. All manner of communications via the help center is automated and users trying to report a hacked account get canned responses from Instagram in relation to their account.
Instead, when you click on the “I think my Instagram account has been hacked” link, Instagram explains how to reclaim your account but offers no way of reporting to them that your account has been hacked if their tips don’t work. Additionally, if you have had your email address changed by the hacker, these tips won’t work.
Also, that number to contact Instagram directly? It is a recorded message that instructs you to use Instagram’s help desk. There is no option to wait on the line and speak to a person directly.
Alternatively, you can email Instagram. This is the response you will likely get.
You’ve reached us at a channel that we no longer support. Please visit the Help Center to find answers to many frequently asked questions and up-to-date forms you can use to contact us:
We apologize for the inconvenience.
The Instagram Team.”
How do I know all this?
My account was hacked and I have spent the last five months trying to get Instagram to respond to my requests.
So, what can you do if you have had your Instagram account hacked and you aren’t Sofia Vergara?
Until Instagram and its owner, Facebook, fix this glitch in their system, regular users of Instagram are being left in the dark in relation to hacked accounts.
However, having the two-step verification system enabled on your account can help stop hackers from claiming your account without your knowledge, although, as Tech Crunch points out, this verification method is not without fault.
The author of this article has reached out to Instagram in relation to these claims but have had no response on the matter.