CONSUMER FIRST ALERT: Hacking victims voice frustrations, look for answers from Facebook

Published: Jul. 10, 2022 at 6:00 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2022 at 6:56 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - What happens when a hacker takes over your Facebook page and locks you out? Consumer First Alert reporter Tammy Elliot has been investigating this and found it’s a big problem.

Hacking is relatively easy for thieves, but difficult for victims to repair.

Pamela May of Fond du Lac is one of those victims. “I am so frustrated I’m at my wit’s end,” says Pamela May.

May is frustrated with Facebook.

“Facebook virtually has no mechanism to get a hold of them when your Facebook page is hacked,” May says.

She thought Facebook was the perfect platform to sell her headbands for bikers.

That’s until she was locked out of her personal page.

“And they were saying things like ‘I’m having a sale, you want some headbands?’ And people then were paying money for these headbands and of course getting ripped off because they were not receiving headbands.”

One of Pamela’s customers messaged the hacker and said “I found out you’re a scammer. You’re stealing.”

The hacker replied, “Yes, I do that for a living.”

Another victim of Facebook hacking is Aubree Leitermann.

Aubree says hackers took advantage of her good name and her trusted charitable page “Aubree’s Blankets for Veterans.”

“Originally my private profile was hacked, and then we found out Aubree’s Blankets got hacked,” said Aubree.

A hacker used the account to post items for sale on Facebook Marketplace, including a Jeep for $1,000.

“You’re kind of panicked,” said Aubree’s mom, Nicole. “You have phone calls coming in and messages coming in, and I mean messages coming in a couple every minute. You’re like, let’s quick get this to stop.”

Facebook directs users to its online help center. When you call Facebook, you get a message that says the company does not offer phone support.

Pamela May and the Leitermanns wish they could talk to an actual person at Facebook.

“I’m just frustrated because there’s no way to get a hold of Facebook,” said May. “I have emailed them countless times.”

“It’s happening on a regular basis and it’s a very big problem,” says Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center.

The Identity Theft Resource Center is a national non-profit group that tracks trends in fraud.

“The ITRC has seen more cases in the first part of this year than we had in all of 2021. So this problem, not only is it not going away, it’s growing and getting bigger in scope. It’s very lucrative, and unfortunately it’s relatively easy for the thieves to take over these accounts.”

Velasquez says the ITRC has encouraged social media platforms to beef up their fraud support staff.

“The unfortunate reality is that once a social media account is taken over, consumers have no other option than going directly to the platform itself to resolve the issue.”

Velasquez continues, “Your only recourse is to continue to hammer them with contacts and make complaints until you get resolution.”

Pamela says she has done that, but Facebook hasn’t helped. Her hacked page is still active, and her customers are getting scammed.

“Just be careful because it happened to me, it can happen to anybody,” Pamela says.

Consumer First Alert has reached out to Facebook’s public relations but received no response.

Wednesday on Action 2 News at 6, our Consumer First Alert continues with expert advice on protecting your account from hacking.

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