Pagoda Blog

Social Media Account Hacked? Here’s What to Do

December 21, 2023

It’s a regular weekday morning. Your alarm goes off and you blindly reach out for your smartphone, squinting at the screen to find the “stop” button. Fighting sleep, you open up your Instagram account, hoping a quick scroll will help wake you up. What you see gives you a jolt of adrenaline that’s 100 times more effective than your morning cup of coffee. 


What has your heart racing? You guessed it. You’ve been hacked. 


First, there are several posts published to your account that you have no memory of creating, promoting a product you’ve never even heard of. Not only that, but you have several direct messages from friends asking if you’re ok and should they really send money to the following account? 




According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, cyberattacks on social media accounts increased in 2022 over any other attack vector. In addition, 70 percent of victims were permanently locked out of their accounts and 71 percent reported that the cybercriminals contacted people listed as ‘friends’ on the compromised social media account.   


This is all to say that hackers commonly target social media accounts so it’s important to both secure your accounts and know what to do in case you’re hacked. 



How to tell if your accounts have been hacked 


Your profile is posting content you didn’t create or approve 

Suspicious activity on your account is a sure sign of a hack. This activity may include content published through your account that you don’t recognize, lots of new followers overnight, or your account is suddenly following accounts you don’t know. Hackers are often trying to either promote their service or product through unauthorized marketing campaigns or they attempt to gain sensitive information from your followers by posting fake content. 


If you have business social media accounts, make sure you regularly monitor your ad manager for suspicious activity such as unapproved paid ads. 


Your friends and followers may also say they’ve received direct messages from you that you didn’t send. These messages most often ask your followers for money and may contain malicious links. 


Related post: LinkedIn Scams and How to Spot Them


A company you’ve done business with notifies you of a data breach  

If you use Facebook, for example, to login to other company accounts, that social media account could be compromised in the event of a data breach. If you receive an alert from a company you’ve done business with that their data was leaked, double check if that account is linked to any of your social media accounts. You may need to change passwords in this case on both accounts.


You receive emails notifying you of unauthorized access 

Your social media account will notify you if there is a login from an unrecognized device. You may also receive an email asking you to update your password. If you didn’t request a new password, this could be a sign that someone has gained access to your account.


You may also see on your social media account that you’ve logged in from remote locations you’ve never visited. If you use a VPN, however, remote logins may not signal unauthorized access. 


Steps to take to mitigate the damage 


Once you’ve determined that your account has been hacked, follow the below steps as soon as possible to block the unauthorized third-party and prevent further fraudulent activity from taking place. 


1. Change your password 

Whenever you suspect an account has been hacked, immediately change the password. If the hacker has already changed your password and you find yourself locked out of the account, first try using the “forgot password” function. If the site doesn’t allow you to reset your password, contact them right away and notify them that your account has been hacked. You may need the company to shut down your account to block any further unauthorized activity.   


2. Notify your contacts 

When someone hacks into your social media account, they’re often planning to conduct a phishing campaign against your contacts. These campaigns may use direct messaging to request that your contacts share personal information, such as their home address, phone number, and even a credit card number. They may also publish posts through your account such as a crowdfunding campaign requesting donations to a fake cause. 


3. Alert the hacked account 

Contact your financial institution if payment credentials were compromised. Always alert the social media platform where you experienced the hack and if you suspect identity theft, follow these steps


4. Get IT support   

Contact your IT department or Managed Service Provider if the hacked account was in any way connected to work or contained sensitive data that could compromise the security of work data/accounts. If you have an incident response plan in place, your IT team should be able to quickly react and mitigate the damage.   


Feature Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash


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Based in Santa Cruz, California, Pagoda Technologies provides trusted IT support to businesses and IT departments throughout Silicon Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area and across the globe. To learn how Pagoda Technologies can help your business, email us at to schedule a complimentary IT consultation.

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