By Princess Jones

Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform for businesses. It’s more popular than many of the others. The natural reach for posts and ads gives you great return on investment. If you’re looking for the heyday of Facebook being a hub for small business, Instagram is for you.

But Instagram is also a playground for scammers because of its popularity. One scam is to hack into a popular Instagram account, change the login details, and then ransom the account back to its owner. If this happens to you, you have a couple of options for getting back into your account after your Instagram has been hacked.

How to Avoid This

If you’re reading this as a preventive exercise, good for you. Prevention is always the key. A little work now can prevent a lot of tears later.

Start with a smart, strong password. Don’t use anything guessable — which leaves out your kids’ names, your boyfriend’s name, your dog’s name… you get it. Strong passwords are ones that include capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and characters. Your password should also be unique to each platform. In other words, if you use a password for Instagram, you can’t use it for Twitter.

Instagram has two-factor authentication, which requires a code sent by text when logging in from an unknown device. This helps if someone gets your password and uses it to log in from somewhere else. Also, you should update your password frequently. Never give your password out to anyone, either. And finally, don’t save it in an easily discoverable place. You’re better off using a well known password keeper that uses smart security measures.

But if you’re not checking this out in the spirit of prevention, read on.

If You Can Still Log In

The first sign that something is wrong with your Instagram account is usually some unauthorized content being posted. In other words, you notice that it’s posting things you didn’t post.

Start by checking if you can still log into Instagram. If you can, change your password immediately. (Also, change your email password because anyone with access to your email probably has access to your Instagram account.) Turn on two factor authentication so anyone logging in from another location needs to reauthenticate. Then go revoke access to any third party apps that you’ve given access to.

If You Can’t Log In

If that doesn’t work or you can’t log into your account at all, try doing a password recovery. Go to the login page and tap “Forgot” next to the password box. This will send you a recovery link by email. (You should also reset your email password before you do this so whomever has access to your Instagram account doesn’t also have access to your email account.)

If this doesn’t work, it might mean that the email address associated with account has been changed. Click “Other Issues” and you’ll be given the option to report your account as hacked. Instagram will ask you to provide some documentation to verify that you are the original owner of the account. It may take some some time for the process to be completed.