8 Jul 2020

When All Else Fails: Tips To Restore Instagram

When All Else Fails: Tips To Restore Instagram on vickiarcher.com

Everything works until it doesn’t.

And part of the problem is when the technical side of life works we take it for granted.

I like to think of myself as not too shabby when it comes to the tech-savvy; I’m no code-breaker but I’m not a total novice either. Yet my main Instagram got hacked last Friday and while it doesn’t matter at all in the large view of life, it’s even refreshing to be without it for 5 days in many ways, it’s a right pain to get it back and operational again. 

There are a lot of hacks on Instagram right now and obviously the answer is to click on absolutely nothing you are not familiar with but having said that mine was a Direct Message that looked 100% genuine. Ok, fool me did click.

Suddenly your email, phone number and password have gone and replaced with generally a vile looking photo and perhaps unsavoury content. Oftentimes the hackers will contact your contacts asking for money in a pretence that can seem real.

Please let me say I am no expert and there is no guarantee of success but this was my experience. I know it’s all too much to contemplate and take in and hopefully, it will never be information needed. If it is I am happy to help. xv

**Before a problem arises make sure to turn on Two-factor authentication in Instagram.

Go to the profile page and tap the three bars at the top on the right-hand side.

Settings > Security > Two-Factor Authentication > Authentication app ON

Follow the prompts and you will receive 4 x 8 digit recovery codes.

Save these to your “password vault” outside of Instagram.

If you are hacked at any time in the future using one of these 8 digit codes will enable you to access your account.

I had not enabled this feature so it made the reinstating all the more complicated.

Here’s What To Do

Emails will arrive asking if your password/email address/username/telephone number has changed.

Click the link disputing this and you will hopefully be directed to a new page and able to change them. You may even have access to your account. If you have enabled this Two Factor authentication you will be sent a text message with a 6 digit code followed by a chance to insert your Recovery Code (saved by you elsewhere).

If you are still locked out of Instagram:

*Most importantly, before anything, change your password relating to your email address in your computer and phone through your provider. 

Go to the Instagram Log-In on your iPhone.

Insert your original User Name or email address.

Click on Forgot Password.

You will see a choice of tabs. Click on the one offering Further Support.

A new page will open in a dark colour and you will be able to enter your information and describe the problem.

An automated email will arrive asking you for details.

The email you need is the one requesting a photo of you holding a paper with hand-written code, they have sent in this email. (Yes, this is genuine.) They will verify your Instagram and come back with directions on how to re-access and log in.

The response time from Instagram is varied and until you receive this email asking for your photograph you will not be able to log in. If I had had those authentication codes saved I would have saved days of wasted time.

My problem was I didn’t understand the importance of this email asking for my photograph. The emails were arriving in Turkish language (weird but that’s what happened) and didn’t seem genuine and as I was already on alert I was not inclined to follow. After much researching (and translating) I found this to be the way back in.

I followed the directions and my Instagram account is back up and running.

image of Karl Lagerfeld in his Parisian library by Matthieu Salvaing

VA In Your Inbox

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In This Post:



cindy hattersley

Oh goodness what a pain. I think I did register for two factor identification but I certainly am going to make sure! Thanks for the tips and glad you are back up and running!


Oh no! Vicki what a terrible waste of time. Thank you for this advice, I have now turned on the 2-factor security.


Great Carolyne, I hope you never need it… but if you do .. you will be streets ahead of me :)

Linda Read

Thank you Vicki for this information, these
situations are always a little unnerving, good news you are up and running again.


Yes they are but I decided to be Zen about it… Once upon a time I would have stressed about the loss but now, life has a different perspective and I am trying to hold onto that :)

Jennifer Connolly

Wow, thank you Vicki. This is invaluable. I’m sorry you had to endure this but thrilled to have your directions.
I don’t know that I would have figured out what the Turkish email said but now, I will be aware.
BTW- yesterday I mentioned I was not receiving your emails and poof…Today I am!
You are tech savvy indeed
Many thanks xx


Good to hear that everything work well again and you are back. I am a novice in digital issues and have still my good old Nokia phone and for the computer Bitdefender take care and have never disappointed.


Oh goodness, the dangers we all face…thank you so much for doing this Vicki. Thank you!


This is so helpful! Thank you Vicki. A couple of months ago someone set up an Instagram account almost identical to mine, just using one extra number in the account name – that wasn’t instantly noticeable. Also copying my About Me descriptive info, except for my words saying I was a wife, mother and nonna. They then started DM-ing some of my friends. I found out only because some of them contacted me to let me know they thought someone had stolen my identity. I confirmed the DMs weren’t from me so at least one person reported it to Instagram and told me to do likewise. I eventually received a message saying it was from Instagram asking me to send a photograph of myself holding up an ID document like a passport or Drivers’Licence with the no. visible. I didn’t because I was worried it might be another attempt to steal more ID details this time. But I replied asking them to check the two accounts, mine and my impostor’s. Mine had lots of posts over a number of years. The impostor’s account was only about three weeks old and only had about 8 entries. I suggested it wasn’t difficult for Instagram to work out who was who. Maybe a week or so later they removed the impostor’s account. One of the unpleasant things was the impostor put up pictures of a bimbo in revealing outfits in my name. It was a horrible experience. Similar to yours but not the same as I hadn’t clicked on a DM link. I made that mistake on an earlier phone a few years ago and learned my lesson.
Glad you’ve managed to sort your hack out!
Best wishes, Pamela

Denise Thadathil

Thank you for this good article. I had seen a couple of weird requests, but I declined and deleted them.

Linda B

Wow, this is very educational.Thanks for sharing all this! I am definitely saving this information–in case I ever bite the bullet and sign up for Instagram. I am not on it, or FaceBook, partly because I am generally a very private person, partly because I am concerned that I will not be able to stop myself from wasting too much time on the computer rather than doing real life activities I love, and also partly because the idea of being hacked is terrifying. I know I miss out on things I would love by being a non-joiner. Every now and then I am so close to diving in. . . I do end up peeking occasionally at FB pages of relatives and friends when something special comes up–by looking over my husband’s shoulder!


Stay exactly where you are Linda… you aren’t missing too much really :)


Thanks Vicki for this useful information..I will be checking my settings today. xx


Dear Vicki – Thank you for the information. I have an HTC android phone so it is difficult to implicate your advise. I would dearly like to protect my identity so could you advise me where I should go to have the same number protection.
It is very kind of you to offer this information in the first place.
Thank you,


I believe there are solutions for Android phones… I saw them when I was “researching” what to do but I imagine there will be a solution… it just requires some digging :)

Kathy Bruce

Thank you . I just lost my business account that I’ve worked on since 2012 . It was my main way to share and sell . I had built up to 37k followers through lots of time &money spent . In a minute it was gone . I have been told by FB it’s been deleted & they can’t get it back . It’s no longer available as a name it’s like it never existed . You are so lucky , I won’t give up & it’s encouraging you were able to triumph in the end


I am so so sorry Kathy… this is so awful for you and so terrible. I do wish you luck with it… :(

Karen Kachele Gottschalk

Thank you so much Vicky for taking time to post all that. I just did the 2 factor authentication and am very appreciative. Hopefully I’ll never use it! I’m so sorry you went through all that.

Sandra Sallin - Apart From My Art

Done and dusted. Thank you. I did exactly what you told me to do. Plus I added some added protection that was asked for. Something called Dual ????? Someone created an account with my name etc. I reported it but also had to take a photo of me with my drivers license. But I got everything back. But I feel so much better having two-factor authentication. You have really performed a service for all of us.

Katherine Swanson

Hi Vicki,
I am going through almost the same situation right now and I was just wondering how long it took Instagram to get back to you with directions after you sent them the initial photo of you with the hand written code? Thank you so much!


Katherine, it took a few days.
The hand written code was the key though.
Good luck! xv



Did Instagram get back to you yet?

I am having a similar problem except my issues are with the two-factor autherntification. I used DUO which was not really created for 3rd party usage such as Instagram and Facebook and neither company offers good support for it. I lost my authenticating device and I don’t have my backup codes which prevents me from logging into my account. I am hoping I can use these same steps for Instagram to grant me access back to my business account but its a little nerve-wracking. The DUO representative I spoke with advised me not to use this as a way of authenticating in the future as DUO was not made for this type of use even though social media platforms are suggesting their users to use it.


Dear Vicky,

I was locked out of my account, the recovery code was sent to my now defunct old phone number, so I also followed the instructions and sent a photo of myself with the code, my full name and username. I haven’t heard anything back in a day. How long did it take you to be verified/log back in after you sent your photo?

All the best.


it took about 28 hours.. mine was a reply to an email from them asking for the photo and code… Good luck!


Hi! I reset my password so many times yesterday because I did not think the new passwords were being saved. As a result I had so many two factor codes being sent to my phone that Instagram will no longer send me any new ones even though my password is correct. From what I’ve read I believe they’ve locked me out of two factor at the moment as a result of so many attempts yesterday so I’m waiting a full 48 hours before trying again. I did fill out the support form a few times as well in case they’re able to get back to me sooner. How long did it take before you received a reply? Thanks so much


It was a few days before I got the email to send my photo holding the code – my problem was I never had saved the codes! good luck Alison x

Azalea B

This is so helpful. Today I received tons of DMs from good friends with a screenshot of an account pretending to be me promoting “Fansly”, from my google search its a knock off only fans, but I don’t think its a legitimate website, just one asking for CC info to scam. I had many people report it & I sent IG an email as well reporting the account. After this I decided to make my profile private, change my password & add two-FA. The only problem is I was never given backup codes & used my phone number as the delivery method. After changing my password & trying to login again, NONE of the two-FA codes are being sent to me! I have been trying for hours. I did the more support method & received the automated email about sending a photo and the hand written code – I hope they respond soon, but for now I will cross my fingers & wait. Thanks for sharing this!


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