Seeing the "Your account has been compromised" message on Snapchat is anxiety-inducing. As a heavy Snapchat user myself, I know the sinking feeling when you suddenly can‘t access your own account.
The good news is, with the right steps, you can recover your compromised Snapchat account. I‘ll walk you through everything you need to know to get back into your account, from contacting Snapchat support to strengthening your security.
What Causes a Compromised Snapchat Account?
Before we dive into the recovery process, let‘s look at what causes a Snapchat account to get compromised in the first place:
Weak, Reused Passwords
The most common reason your Snapchat was likely hacked is due to having a weak password that‘s easy to crack, or reusing the same password across multiple sites.
According to Verizon‘s 2020 Data Breach Report, 80% of hacking-related data breaches are due to stolen or weak passwords. So if you have "password123" or "snapchatpassword" as your login, it‘s sadly not very secure.
Similarly, if you use the same password for Snapchat that you used on another site which suffered a data breach, your account is now compromised. Always use a unique, complex password for every account.
Phishing Scams and Malware
Another way hackers break into Snapchat accounts is through phishing scams and malware.
Phishing is when you receive convincing emails or sites pretending to be Snapchat, fooling you into entering your username and password. Malware refers to viruses, spyware and other nasty software that steal login details from your devices.
Be vigilant against unexpected emails, popups or downloads related to Snapchat. Only log in directly through the official Snapchat app or site.
Granting sketchy third-party apps access to your Snapchat account also poses a risk, as you‘re handing over your login details.
Stick to reliable, verified apps and be selective about which can access your account. Revoke access if you have any doubts about their security practices.
Snapchat Employees Abusing Access
In May 2022, Motherboard reported that some Snapchat employees had abused their access to spy on users. So in rare cases, your account may have been compromised internally.
While worrying, this appeared to be a small number of rogue insiders that Snapchat has now fired and is taking legal action against.
Contacting Snapchat Support to Regain Access
Okay, now that we know how Snapchat accounts get hacked, let‘s get into the steps to recover your account after seeing the "compromised account" message:
Step 1: Submit an Account Recovery Request
First things first – you need to contact Snapchat support and submit an account recovery request:
Open your browser and go to support.snapchat.com. Click on Contact Us.
Under “I can’t log in” select I think my account was hacked.
Fill in your username, email, mobile number and details of the issue.
Click Send to submit the request to Snapchat.
The key details to include in your request:
Explain you are seeing the “Your account has been compromised” message when trying to log in.
Note the date/time you first noticed the issue.
Provide the email address and phone number associated with your Snapchat account.
List any recent suspicious activity you noticed, like password reset emails you didn‘t initiate.
The more relevant info you can provide, the better chance Snapchat support can verify you‘re the legitimate account owner.
Step 2: Wait for Snapchat‘s Response
After submitting the request, you‘ll need to wait 1-3 business days for a response from Snapchat.
I know, it‘s agonizing being locked out of your account, but have patience. The security team needs time to properly investigate compromised accounts.
Check the email associated with your Snapchat regularly. Support will reach out with instructions if they can validate you as the account owner.
Step 3: Follow Snapchat‘s Steps to Regain Access
If your appeal is approved, Snapchat will email you instructions for recovering access to your compromised account.
Carefully follow these steps – you may need to reset your password, revoke account access granted to third parties, or set up two-factor authentication.
Completing Snapchat’s instructions properly is crucial for them to reinstate your account access. Don‘t skip any steps.
What to Do If Your Appeal is Unsuccessful
There is a chance your initial appeal to Snapchat support may get rejected. This could happen if:
You don‘t provide enough verifying details that you own the account.
The hacker has already changed critical account details like the email and password.
Snapchat detects you may be the hacker trying to impersonate the user.
If your appeal gets rejected, don’t panic. You can respond to the email and provide additional evidence that you are the legitimate account owner, such as:
Older emails or communications from Snapchat to that account.
Proof of purchases made on the account, like order numbers.
Names of Snapchat friends you frequently interact with.
Screenshots of your Bitmoji or avatar.
Links to any public content posted from the account.
Essentially, provide as many details as possible that only the real account holder would know. This additional info may prompt Snapchat to reconsider your appeal.
How Long Does Snapchat Account Recovery Take?
The time it takes to fully restore access to a compromised Snapchat account varies case-by-case.
Here are the general timeframes based on Snapchat users‘ experiences:
1-3 days to get an initial response from Snapchat after submitting an account recovery request.
3-5 days to complete the account recovery steps outlined by Snapchat, if the first appeal is approved.
1 week or longer if your initial appeal is rejected, and you have to provide additional verification details in a follow up appeal.
2-4 weeks in rare cases where the hacker has done significant damage, and the investigation/recovery process is more complex.
The best advice is to be patient, but persistent. Keep checking for a reply from Snapchat support, and provide any clarification they request as quickly as you can.
The quicker you respond, the faster you can take the necessary steps to restore your Snapchat access.
Strengthening Snapchat Security After Account Recovery
Once you regain access to your compromised Snapchat account, take measures to secure it for the future:
Use a Strong, Unique Password
Reset your Snapchat password to something truly strong and random that you don‘t use on any other account.
I recommend using a password generator to create a lengthy, random mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. This makes it extremely difficult for hackers to crack.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security, requiring your password plus a code generated on your mobile device to log in.
Here‘s how to switch on 2FA for Snapchat:
Tap your Bitmoji > Settings > Login Verification.
Follow the prompts to set up authentication through text or an auth app.
With 2FA enabled, even someone who knows your password can‘t access your account on a new device without the secondary code.
Be Wary of Phishing Attempts
Watch out for emails or sites dressed up as Snapchat asking you to log in. Remember – Snapchat will never send you an email asking for your password or account details.
Delete suspicious emails immediately. Only access Snapchat through their official app and website.
Revoke Account Access from Other Apps
Review all the third-party apps you‘ve given access to your Snapchat data and revoke permission for any unused, questionable or unverified ones.
Run Antivirus Software
Use trusted antivirus software to scan all your devices regularly. This detects malware designed to steal passwords and other sensitive data. Keep your apps, operating systems and security software up-to-date too.
Expert Tips to Recover and Protect Your Snapchat Account
I asked cybersecurity experts for their top tips on recovering compromised social media accounts and keeping them locked down. Here are the key recommendations:
"If you can‘t access your Snapchat and suspect it‘s been hacked, immediately change passwords on accounts that use the same email and password combination. This prevents further damage as you go through the recovery process with Snapchat." – Chris Hauk, Pixel Privacy
"Use random multi-word passphrases rather than single words or strings of numbers and letters. This makes passwords almost impossible to crack but far easier to remember than random characters." – Lisa Braine, Consumer Safety
"Turn on two-factor authentication wherever possible, not just for Snapchat. It adds critical extra security, especially for accounts with sensitive personal information." – David Peters, Encrypt Cybersecurity
"When your appeal gets rejected, stay calm and re-appeal with additional verifying details. Keep at it until Snapchat can confirm you‘re the legitimate account owner – persistence pays off."
I hope these tips from cybersecurity experts help you keep your accounts ultra-secure in future!
What If You Can‘t Recover Your Account?
In some very rare cases, the hacker may have damaged the account beyond repair, and Snapchat is unable to reinstate your access.
If you absolutely cannot get your original Snapchat account back via appeals, as a last resort you may have to create a new account and start fresh.
But be sure to go through every possible appeal option before giving up – Snapchat often finds ways to restore access if the user can prove account ownership.
In Summary: Fixing a Compromised Snapchat Account
To summarize, here are the key steps if your Snapchat account is compromised:
Contact Snapchat via their support form and explain you cannot access your account due to it being compromised. Provide as many details as possible to verify your identity.
Have patience and wait for their response, which typically takes 1-3 days. Check your Snapchat email regularly.
Carefully follow Snapchat‘s instructions if they approve your appeal and provide the necessary steps to recover your account access.
Bolster your security with strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and being vigilant against phishing.
Don‘t hesitate to re-appeal with more proof of ownership if your initial appeal gets rejected. Persistence pays off.
I hope this in-depth guide gives you a clear roadmap to restore access to your hacked Snapchat account. And helps you keep it locked down in future! Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips.