Security

Snapchat hacked? Here’s how to tell if your account is compromised

Ray Fernandez

Jul 17, 20237 min read

Snapchat hacked? Here's how to tell if your account is compromised (Header image)

Snapchat is one of the world’s most popular social media networks, competing side by side with TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media giants. With 557 million users worldwide, the platform is especially popular among Gen Z, who use it daily. But hackers and cybercriminals target the platform constantly. If you think your Snapchat is hacked, here’s the ultimate guide for dealing with a compromised Snapchat account.

Top 3 signs your Snapchat was hacked

Why would someone hack your Snapchat? There are several possible reasons. Hackers will breach a Snapchat account to target you specifically, steal your personal information and work credentials, or even use your account to hack other users, distribute spam or malware, or launch bulk scam campaigns.

There are several signs that serve as a clear indication that your Snapchat account has been hacked. Let’s take a look at the most common ones below.

1. Suspicious Snapchat activity

You may notice that you are being asked to log into your account more than usual, your account is sending it out spam, or new, unknown contacts are being added to your list without your permission. If your account shows activity you do not recognize, it has more than likely been hacked.

2. Login alerts

If you get an email from Snapchat about a new user login, take notice. Snapchat will send you an email when someone logs into your account from a different device. This email alert will inform you of the login activity, including the IP address and even the brand and model of the device that accessed your account, as well as the exact date and time. You can easily recognize whether or not the device is one of yours.

Another red flag is receiving two-factor authentication notifications when you have not requested them. Does this mean someone hacked your Snapchat account? Yes. In fact, it’s likely that if they haven’t hacked it already, they are currently in the process of hacking it. You should change your password immediately.

3. Authentication failure

Once cybercriminals take control of your Snapchat account, the first thing they usually do is change the authentication information. This means they will change the phone number, email, and other data to shut you out of your account. If you get a message about a change of authentication information that you have not done, you should take immediate action to secure your account.

Email notice Snapchat password changed: Screenshot

How to unlock a hacked Snapchat account

Snapchat may lock an account permanently or temporarily for various reasons — spam, signs of a compromised account, and others. The Snapchat support team is responsible for dealing with users who have had their accounts locked temporarily or permanently and what type of lock to apply to an account. When you try to access your account, you will get a message explaining which type of lock your account has.

Whether your account has been locked temporarily or permanently, be aware that scammers will often contact users who have been locked out of their accounts and offer them fake “unlocking services” in exchange for payment. They often pose as Snapchat employees and may approach you through email or other social media platforms. Remember that Snapchat will never request money to unlock your account. And always be cautious when dealing with unknown contacts. 

Gain access to a temporarily locked Snapchat account

Temporarily locked accounts are easier to recover than permanently locked, which in some extreme cases cannot even be recovered at all. Snapchat may temporarily lock your account if it notices that it could have been compromised and offers support for these cases.

For temporarily blocked accounts:

  1. Remove all third-party apps, plugins, or tweaks you are using for Snapchat. This is one reason why many accounts are blocked. 
  2. Log in to your account via the web or app. 
  3. Once you log in, you will see several options. Select Unlock.
  4. If that doesn’t work and you still have no access, you’ll have to wait 48 hours before trying to log in again. 

Gain access to a permanently locked Snapchat account

Permanently locked accounts are those that Snapchat identifies as more severely breaching their Terms and Services or violating Community Guidelines. An account may be permanently locked due to scam activity, for example, and while this activity may have been caused by a hacker breaching your account, Snapchat may not be able to tell. 

If your Snapchat is permanently locked, you might get a message saying that the Snapchat support team will not be able to unlock it for you. However, you can still take a few steps to recover it. 

  1. Go to Snapchat Support and navigate to Contact Us > I have a login issue > I can’t log in to Snapchat.
  2. Next, select “I forgot my password” or “I think my account was hacked.”
  3. Click Yes for Still Need Help at the bottom of the page. 
  4. Fill in and submit a form with your account information. 
  5. In the description, be as specific as possible. This is your chance to make your case by explaining to the support team that you were not responsible for the breach or activity. 
  6. The Support team will get back to you with a response.
Contact support to recover hacked and locked Snapchat account: Screenshot

How to recover your Snapchat account if you can still log in

Once you regain access to your account — or if you have noticed suspicious activity but can still log in — you should take immediate action:

  1. Change your password and choose a strong one.
  2. Make sure your password is unique and difficult to guess and that you are not using it on other accounts. If you have used the same password to log in to other services, check them, too.
  3. In Snapchat, verify your email and phone number. Here are the links to Snapchat’s official steps to verify your email address and your phone number
  4. Activate two-factor authentication (2FA). 

To activate 2FA: 

  1. Go to My Profile > Settings.
  2. Next, choose  Two-Factor Authentication.
  3. Tap Continue to finish.
  4. Select your preferred method for 2FA: SMS, push notifications, or an authentication app like Google Authenticator or Duo. These apps generate single-use codes that only work for a short time.

The risk of using authentication apps instead of push notifications or SMS is that if you lose your phone, change your number, restore your phone to factory settings, or delete the authentication app, you won’t be able to receive the authentication code and will lose access to your Snapchat account. To prevent this from happening, change or deactivate 2FA before switching phones, and be sure never to delete the authentication app.

Additionally, if someone has hacked your account, their device will show up in a list of detected logins. To log them out, you can forget unrecognized linked devices: 

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Next, click on Two Factor Authentication.
  3. Select Forget Devices.
  4. Click the ✖️ button next to each device you want to forget. Click Yes when asked to confirm.

How to protect your Snapchat from getting hacked

Snapchat is a platform to connect with family, friends, and the wider community. But a fun Snapchat experience can quickly become a nightmare when hacked. Here are some tips to keep your account safe. 

1. Stay away from shared devices

You can log in to your Snapchat account on any device. But you should stick to using your personal devices. Shared devices or public networks can represent a security risk. 

2. Use a unique, strong password

Continually update your password from time to time and choose a unique, strong password. Many users use the same password for every site and app they have. This could be a big mistake if someone hacks your email or any of those many sites. If this happens, Snapchat may be the least of your worries.

3. Be cautious of third-party apps

You can find numerous third-party apps that link up with Snapchat. These apps often offer attractive perks, but not all of them are safe. Some can cause a block on your account, while others may infect your device with viruses or spyware. 

4. Report, report, report 

Snapchat allows users to easily report inappropriate content or activity from within the app. The process is simple and essential. If you do not report suspicious activity, the hacker will continue to operate. To report, just press and hold the Snap, tap the Report Snap button, and inform the security team of what’s going on so they can take action. 

5. Don’t give away your password 

This one may sound obvious, but many users lose their accounts over easily avoided mistakes. No matter how elaborate and convincing someone who contacts you is, never give away your password to anyone. Be aware of scams and phishing campaigns, and trust no one. 

6. Check your privacy settings

Check your privacy settings. There are tools that allow you to choose who can send you Snaps, view your Stories, or see your location on Snap Map. Turning these on may prevent a headache down the road.

7. Mind what you share

As you may know, every message on Snapchat vanishes eventually. Nonetheless, you should never share personal or sensitive information. Users can still take screenshots and use them later. 

It’s easy to keep your Snapchat safe as long as you are well-informed. In fact, ensuring your personal security requires minimum time and effort. If you follow these tips and use Snapchat only for the purposes for which it was built, you won’t have to worry about being hacked.

Ray Fernandez Ray Fernandez
Ray has been covering tech and cybersecurity for over 15 years. His work has appeared on TechRepublic, VentureBeat, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and the Microsoft Blog, among others.