Thursday, December 15, 2016

Is your instagram account safe?

I blame it on Mercury in retrograde.

I woke up one morning in early September to discover my Instagram account was hacked.
And there was no one to call for help.

Throughout September, while Mercury was in retrograde, I submitted numerous reports (multiple times a day) to Instagram officials, talked to IT experts and mourned what I felt was a sure loss of the more than 8,000 followers I had built on the platform.

The good news: This story has a happy ending, and I want to share my experience so you can avoid it!

What’s Mercury got to do with it?

Three to four times a year when the planet Mercury passes Earth in its orbit, it slows down and appears to stop. Since there is forward movement, the result is an optical illusion that makes it seem like the planet starts moving backward—or Mercury in retrograde.  

In astrology, Mercury rules technology, travel and communication. So, astrologers attribute tech, travel and communication snafus that occur during this time to the fact that the planet is in retrograde. Electronics go berserk, travel can be chaotic and it’s not unusual to hear from some random person from your past.

I wasn’t very superstitious prior to September, but since my Instagram account got hacked, I’m starting to believe in Mercury’s mysterious powers. I began to wonder: Was it just a coincidence that my Instagram account was down almost the entire time the planet was in retrograde?

Who knows? What I do know for sure is that I don’t want to have this happen EVER again!

Instagram security measures

So, how you can you avoid a similar fate? Protect yourself, and your Instagram account, with these tips:

  1. Pick a strong password
Don’t underestimate the power of a strong—and unique—password on all of your accounts. Since I salvaged my account from the Instagram gods, I started to use LastPass to create and store my passwords. This tool creates impossible to memorize passwords that utilize best practices for a strong password (combos of numbers, letters and punctuation) and allows me to memorize just one password to unlock a vault that stores all of my passwords.

  1. Update your password (and keep it secret)
Don’t be surprised if you receive a message from Instagram prompting you to change your password. If you receive this message, it is because Instagram found evidence that your password may have been compromised while doing its automated security checks. Even if not prompted, it’s good practice to update your passwords every six months to a year.

  1. Keep your email account secure
Turns out, my Yahoo email account was also compromised, so that was most likely how my Instagram account was taken over. Protecting your email account with a strong password is a sure way to protect your Instagram account.

What to do if your Instagram gets hacked

If you find yourself in the turmoil I was in when my Instagram got hacked, take a deep breath. It took me almost an entire month to regain access to the account, so you need your stamina.

  • You need access to your email or Facebook account to request a password reset. This was a problem for me since my Yahoo email account had also been impacted. Therefore, my only recourse was to submit a report to Instagram several times a day until I got a response. There is not a number to call to get a person on the other end of the line to provide support.
  • Instagram will request proof of ownership for the page. If you have a personal Instagram page, this won’t be as challenging as it was for me since you most likely have several documents that show your name as it is reflected on Instagram. If you have an Instagram page for your business, be sure you have the proper documentation to back up your ownership. I used my New York tax id document as proof of ownership, since then I have created an LLC to protect the "SchulmanArt" brand as I realized I had nothing documenting SchulmanArt as a legal entity.
  • Be diligent with your efforts to contact Instagram support. I was submitting reports multiple times a day for the entire month.

Now that I have regained access to my Instagram account, I would be so honored to have you follow my page at schulmanart. That would make my efforts battling the tech snafus of Mercury in retrograde worth it.

click HERE to follow me on instagram!

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About Me (Miriam Schulman)

Miriam Schulman, founder of The Inspiration Place
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m a watercolor and mixed media artist. My art has been featured in numerous publications such as Somerset Studio, and Im the founder of The Inspiration Place  where I give my students stepping stones to create beautiful art as well as the emotional support they need to stay inspired. See the art I create at or learn how to paint with me at