Look out for these warning signs and don't let your playlists get finessed.
Music streaming has become essential in helping listeners discover artists, access new releases or turn into homegrown DJs. As an avid Spotify user, I hold my account – and my playlists – dear. Many of you probably have playlists for the gym, meditation, road trips, household chores, parties or the ride to the grocery store. Or perhaps you have a favorite podcast, or have even mastered all the cool tricks on the music streaming service. And at the end of the year when Spotify sends out your personalized Wrapped roundup, you may even feel a frisson of excitement.
Now imagine someone hacking into your Spotify account, rearranging your library, creating new playlists or locking you out by changing the password. It's so much more than just a minor annoyance! In some cases you may not have even been hacked, but simply left your account logged in by accident. In any case, if you suspect a stranger has infiltrated your account, here's how to handle it.
The most obvious sign that someone is using your account is the inability to log in to Spotify. If your password and/or email suddenly don't work, count that as a double red flag. While you should ordinarily be able to request a new password (and then change it as below), it's possible that a freeloader has stolen your original login details. In that case, you won't be able to update the password or email address on your own and you will need to contact Spotify. Sadly, the company does not offer two-factor authentication, so the onus is on you to monitor your credentials.
Otherwise, if you still have access to your account, the other user may have been more subtle, and so there are other things you should check. For instance, click on your "Recently played" row and see if it is out of whack. The same goes for the "Jump back in" section where you may find songs or mixes that arouse suspicion. Another obvious clue that your account has been accessed without your knowledge is the addition or removal of playlists. If you see something that you or Spotify didn't curate and there are songs nowhere near what you'd normally listen to, an outsider may have gained access.
According to Spotify's help center, other indicators that a stranger may have taken over your account include changes to your subscription plan, music playing randomly without your control and email alerts about weird login credentials.
Presuming you have access, scan your account details under Settings to review your email address and plan type. Make sure both are accurate. Often, data breaches on other sites lead to emails and passwords being collected by criminals. Though Spotify assures users that its service is secure, there's a possibility someone can nab your login credentials elsewhere. Take an extra step to see if your email's been comprised by visiting Have I Been Pwned. Type in your email to check whether it's been shared on the dark web.
Last, while occurrences of music automatically playing on its own could be attributed to third-party apps like Google's alarm clock or Samsung's Bixby routines, there's still a chance it means a stranger has access to your Spotify account. And if you have multiple devices or external accounts connected to Spotify, there are ways to stop random tunes from blaring through your speakers.
The best way to put a stop to the takeover is by shutting Spotify down on all devices and changing your password. Spotify advises users to change their passwords in an incognito window when opening the reset password link. The company also suggests updating passwords for external services connected to your Spotify account, such as Facebook, Google and Apple.
Here's how to do it: On a web browser, log in and navigate to your Account page under your Profile. Scroll down and click "Sign Out Everywhere." This will log you out of Spotify on your phone, tablet, web player or the desktop version.
However, if Spotify is linked to your TV, gaming console or speaker, you will have to sign out separately. From your desktop app, head to your Account overview page, locate the menu on the left side, and select Apps, which is denoted by a puzzle piece icon. You'll see a list of connected apps. You may see Facebook and other integrated apps like Tinder, Discord, Apple TV or Slack. Click Remove Access, which will block access and sign you out of Spotify.
Spotify users who are set up for automatic payments may not always check their billing statements each month. Take a moment to scan your billing statement and look for any discrepancies in your plan type. Did you sign up for Premium Individual subscription but are suddenly paying for a Premium Family plan? If you notice that you're being charged for a subscription that you didn't select, contact Spotify.
Additionally, it's worth noting that Spotify accepts multiple payment methods, including debit/credit cards, PayPal, gift cards and pay as you go. You may be paying Spotify directly with an in-app method, but if you are billed through a third party such as an internet provider or mobile phone carrier, verify that your payment information is secure.
You should reach out to Spotify in the event you get locked out of your own account due to someone changing the email address and password, or for escalated issues related to a possible hacked account. Customer support may assist with recovering lost playlists, compromised login credentials and billing errors.
Currently, Spotify doesn't have a way to contact its customer service team by phone. Instead, you can reach out using its chat feature, or by reaching out on Twitter: @SpotifyCares or the SpotifyCares Facebook page.