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How to stop strangers from accessing your Spotify account

How to stop strangers from accessing your Spotify account

Music streaming has become important in helping listeners discover artists, access new releases or become 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, car trips, housework, parties or the trip to the grocery store. Or maybe you have a favorite podcast, or have even mastered them all cool tricks on music streaming service. And at the end of the year when Spotify sends out your personally wrapped roundup, you might even feel a frisson of excitement.

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Now imagine that someone hacks into your Spotify account, reorganize your librarycreates new playlists or lock yourself out by changing your password. It’s so much more than just a minor annoyance! In some cases, you may not even have 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.

Watch out for these warning signs

The most obvious sign that someone is using your account is the inability to log into Spotify. If your password and/or email suddenly stop working, count that as a double red flag. Although you should usually 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 will not be able to update your password or email address on your own, and you will need to contact Spotify. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t offer two-factor authentication, so it’s up to you to monitor your credentials.

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Otherwise, if you still have access to your account, the other user may have been more subtle, and so there are other things to check. For example, click on the “Recently Played” row and see if it’s out of play. The same applies to the “Jump back in” section where you can find songs or mixes that raise suspicion. Another obvious clue that your account has been accessed without your knowledge is the addition or removal of playlists. If you see something you or Spotify didn’t curate, and there aren’t songs close to what you’d normally listen to, an outsider may have gained access.

Spotify screen showing rows for

Scroll through the “Jump back in” and “Recently played” sections on the main screen.

Screenshot by Kourtnee Jackson/CNET

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 strange login credentials.

Assuming you have access, scan your account details below Settings to see your email address and plan type. Make sure both are accurate. Often, data breaches on other websites lead to emails and passwords being collected by criminals. Although Spotify assures users that the service is secure, there is a possibility that someone could find your login information elsewhere. Take an extra step to see if your email is covered by visiting Have I Been Pwned. Enter your email to check if it has been shared on the dark web.

Finally, while instances of auto-playing music can 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.

Close Spotify and reset your password

The best way to stop the takeover is to turn off Spotify on all devices and change your password. Spotify advises users to change their passwords in one incognito window when you open the password reset link. The company also suggests updating passwords for external services connected to your Spotify account, such as Facebook, Google and Apple.

How to do it: On a web browser, log in and navigate to your Accounting page under your profile. Scroll down and click on “Log out everywhere.” This will log you out of Spotify on your phone, tablet, web player or desktop version.

Spotify instructions on how to sign out on each device

Be extra careful and sign out of your Spotify account on each device.

Screenshot by Kourtnee Jackson/CNET

But if Spotify is connected to your TV, game console or speaker, you’ll need to sign out separately. From the desktop app, go to your Accounting overview page, find the menu on the left and select Apps, which is marked with a puzzle piece icon. You will see a list of connected apps. You can see Facebook and other integrated apps like Tinder, Discord, Apple TV or Slack. Click Remove accesswhich will block access and log you out of Spotify.

Examine your bill

Spotify users who are set up for automatic payments may not always check their invoice statements each month. Take the time to scan your bank statement and look for any discrepancies in the plan type. Have you registered for Premium Individual subscription but suddenly paying for a Premium Family plan? If you discover that you are being charged for a subscription you did not choose, 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 can pay Spotify directly with one method in the apphowever, if you are billed through a third party, such as an internet service provider or mobile operator, please ensure that your payment information is secure.

Contact Spotify if you’ve lost access or your playlists

You should contact Spotify in case you are banned from your own account due to someone changing your email address and password, or for escalated issues related to a possible hacked account. Customer support can help recover lost playlists, compromised credentials, and billing errors.

Currently, Spotify does not have a way to contact the customer service team by phone. Instead, you can reach out using the chat function, or by contacting Twitter: @SpotifyCares or the SpotifyCares Facebook page.

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