How to recover a hacked Facebook account

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5 How to recover a hacked Facebook account


Facebook is no stranger to cyberthreats. Many hackers and scammers use Facebook to reach their victims, and keeping up with all their new techniques is challenging. Most of the time, people don’t even realize they’ve been hacked until a friend on Facebook lets them know they’ve received suspicious links from you on Messenger or almost clicked on a strange link posted to your page. (Unfortunately, this friend may have already clicked on the link.)

To add fuel to the fire, many accounts that have been hacked are also hard to get back into after the fact by the actual account holder. We received an email from a man who contacted us with just this very question:

“My wife’s Facebook was hacked a month ago, and we aren’t able to get back into her account, let alone just to get Facebook to shut it down.”

Does this sound familiar? What do you do if you realize your Facebook account has been hacked? And how can you get back on and recover your account if the hacker has logged you out? Here’s what you need to know.

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How to recover a hacked Facebook account

A woman on her Facebook account (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Why can’t I get access to my account after I’ve been hacked?

No one wants to find out that their Facebook account has been hacked. Being locked out of your account, unable to let your friends know that you didn’t send those suspicious links, or unable to log back in altogether can be upsetting and frustrating. But why does this happen? Why can’t you get back into your account after being hacked?

Well, there are a few reasons. One could be that once the hacker accessed your account, they’ve entered your settings and changed the password, so you can’t get back in without resetting it. If they’ve changed additional settings, it’ll take more than a password reset to get back in.

The other way is that someone may have reported your posts or your account to Facebook, letting them know that a hacker has taken over the account. In some cases, Facebook will block the account for security reasons. In both situations, getting back onto the platform and recovering your account is difficult. But there are ways to do it.

How to recover a hacked Facebook account

Facebook sign-in page (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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How can I get back into/recover my account?

If you’ve been hacked and signed out of Facebook, you might wonder how you can access your account. Sometimes, you can still log into your Facebook account, but you recognize you’ve been hacked and want to take back ownership. Other times, Facebook already detects the hack and will log you out for security reasons, especially if you cannot verify the changes the hacker may have made to your account. Finally, if the hacker changed your recovery information – like your email and phone number – you may have an extra difficult time recovering your account. This is what you can try.

How to recover a hacked Facebook account

Facebook app (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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How to log back into Facebook if the hacker has logged you out

You may realize a hacker has taken over your account if you can’t log in, or you may notice some red flags while still logged into your account – like posts you didn’t create or friends letting you know you’ve been hacked. You may also notice that your account details, such as your name, birth date, etc., have been changed.

If you know you’ve been hacked, and you’ve been signed out of your account, you can:

  • Go to the login screen and click Forgotten password
  • Then follow the steps to reset your password and log back in
  • Lastly, Facebook suggests that you visit https://www.facebook.com/hacked to secure your account. Here, they’ll ask you to change your password and review your recent login activity.
How to recover a hacked Facebook account

Facebook log-in page (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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How to recover your account if the hacker changed the email address on file

If you’ve tried the above method, and you’re still locked out of your account, it could be because the hacker has changed the email address and other verification information on file, which means any reset password links after that will go to them.

The good news is that you can reverse this. When the hacker changes the email, Facebook sends a message to the previous email account with a special link to verify – aka your email. Search your inbox for an email from Facebook. Then you can click this link to reverse the email change and follow the steps to secure your account.

How to recover a hacked Facebook account

Facebook main page (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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How to recover your Facebook account if you no longer have access to the phone number or email associated with your account

If you cannot access the phone number or email associated with your Facebook account (perhaps because the hacker has also compromised your email).

  • Head to facebook.com/login/identify
  • You can fill out a form to have Facebook review your account while answering a few security questions to prove the account you’re trying to recover is yours.
  • Sometimes, you’ll have to provide proof of ID, like a photo of a driver’s license, as they match the information you provided to Facebook when you first created your account.
How to recover a hacked Facebook account

Facebook login on the app (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Help a friend recover their account (or ask your friend to help you)

Facebook also allows friends to help each other recover their accounts. This is also true if your friend has passed away or is incapacitated and can no longer use their Facebook. By doing this, you help prevent hackers from taking over a vulnerable account. The steps you’d take, though, depend on the situation. For instance, there are cases where hackers create fake profiles to impersonate you. 

If you’re trying to help your friend recover their account for this reason – or they’re trying to help you – visit the Hacked Accounts section of the Help Center on Facebook and follow the steps.

How can I protect my account from being hacked in the future?

Unfortunately, if you’ve tried all the above methods and still can’t recover your account, you may not be able to. You can try to contact Facebook, but they are difficult to get in touch with.

Whether you get back into your account or end up creating a new one, you must take all the steps you can to secure your account to prevent hackers from getting in:

1) Visit Facebook’s “Privacy, Safety and Security” settings in the Help Center.

  • Open the Facebook app
  • Tap the three horizontal lines (menu icon) in the bottom-right corner
  • Scroll down and tap “Settings & Privacy”
  • Tap “Settings”
  • Here, you can adjust various settings related to your account, including privacy options.

2) Consider keeping your account as private as possible.

3) Be sure to use a strong password that you aren’t using for other accounts. Consider using a password manager to generate and store complex passwords.

4) Under your account settings, set up 2FA via SMS. This means if someone changes your email or phone number, at least one of the methods can help you get back in.

5) Log out of your Facebook account when you access it on a public or friend’s device.

6) Don’t share your login details with anyone, not even friends or relatives.

7) Don’t click on suspicious links or posts. The best way to protect yourself from clicking malicious links that install malware that may access your private information is to install antivirus protection on all your devices. This can also alert you of any phishing emails or ransomware scams. Get my picks for the best 2024 antivirus protection winners for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices.

8) Frequently do software updates on your device to prevent malware from getting in.

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Kurt’s key takeaways

Facebook can be a risky place in general. As hackers become more inventive, there’s no way to protect yourself 100% from scams. If you get hacked and logged out of your account, it’s not enough to follow the steps to recover and log back in. You’ll also need to update your security preferences and ensure you follow the security tips we’ve outlined.

Have you ever had your Facebook hacked and needed to recover your account? Were you successful? Why or why not? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

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