Photo: Dave Hewison
My Social Media accounts were hacked and they spent thousands
UPDATE (6 October, 2022): Facebook finally deleted my account, as well as my Instagram, permanently, both offering no avenue of recourse.
So my new Social Media feeds are:
If you have linked your Facebook and Instagram accounts together, unlink them now! If they are linked, and something happens to one of your accounts, such as being hacked, as was my experience, you will lose BOTH accounts. So unlink them to reduce the risk.
My Facebook Account was hacked and thousands spent on Ads.
In the early hours of Saturday the 20th of August, some basement dwelling amoeba successfully hacked into my Facebook account.
Not wasting any time, they changed my password, added two factor authentication, and made themselves the admin for my Facebook business account.
After waking up on Saturday, making myself an undisclosed number of coffee’s, I thought I might check my Instagram account. To my dismay and confusion, a message popped up telling me that my account had been disabled for violating ‘community standards’…
So I tried Facebook. I logged in and up pops a message, once again letting me know that I’d violated ‘community standards’ and as a result they had disabled my account and that I had 30 days to request a review, or it would be deleted.
Given I hadn’t posted anything for over a week, and the last post was of me taking a photo of a car, this sounded like utter knackers to put it as family friendly as I can think of right now.
After a period of letting that sink in, more undisclosed coffee’s I thought to check my Gmail account which I rarely ever look since it’s 99% spam. But that’s the account connected to my Facebook.
And there was the email… “Did you log into Facebook from somewhere new?” and then… “Password Change”
and… “Action needed on your Facebook account” which went onto say…
Dave, you have 30 days to take action.
Your Facebook account has been suspended. This is because some of your posts or comments don’t follow our Community Standards.
If you think we suspended your account by mistake, you have 30 days to disagree with our decision. If you miss this deadline your account will be permanently disabled.”
Of course, this all happened while I was asleep.
My friendly hacker, who went onto make himself the admin for my business ads account, and then put it upon himself to spend over $5,000 on fraudulent ads in my name.
Whilst Facebook thought it a good idea to disable my account, and prevent me from being able to get back in to secure it, they had no problem at all allowing my hacker to spend thousands of dollars using it.
Well done Facebook, bravo.
In fact, whilst my account was disabled, Facebook happily approved no less than ten ads and delightfully emailed me over 70 receipts for active Facebook campaigns, using those same ads. All while my account was disabled and hidden.
Meanwhile, as my Instagram account was linked to my Facebook I lost access to both accounts. And both profiles and now gone, hidden, as if they never existed.
My Facebook page, Dave Hewison Photography is still live, but since I can’t log into my personal account, I have no access to my page either. All I can do is view it while logged out of Facebook.
Obviously, when there’s an issue like this, you would reach out to Facebook Support, or Customer Service to resolve the issue. Obviously, this would be but a mere blip in the scheme of irritation things that happen from time to time in this new online tech world we have built for ourselves.
First, the only way to reach out to Facebook support is by logging into your account.
If you can’t log in for whatever reason, you can of course use a friends account and ask them to report on your behalf that a hacking as taken place.
As Facebook disabled my account, I of course, can’t log into it. And as they removed my account it is now hidden, so no one else can report it for me.
OK, so there must be an email I can reach out to. No, no there isn’t.
Well, there’s no email, maybe there’s a number? Nope.
Well, obviously they’d have live chat? Of course not. Actually, they do if you’re an advertiser, and you live in the US, but it’s only beta and available to a limited few.
So there’s that.
Forms?! Yes! There must be forms or something that you can fill out, yes? Well there are, but, you have to be logged in to use them.
For the ones that don’t require you to be logged in, they don’t work.
After googling I tried countless fixes that didn’t fix anything and I could list them but this is already getting to long.
So the long and the short of it is that for now, I have no social media presence. If you happened to have noticed I haven’t posted in a while, that’s why and maybe, just maybe, some of you thought to check my website to see what’s up, I thought I better throw this up so you know what’s happened.
I’ve managed to reset my password, change my login email address and upload ID to confirm I own the account. Sadly though every time I successfully do that, I am taken to a page where I have to upload a selfie to confirm my identity again. After sending them my passport and drivers licence. Somehow that selfie will do the trick….only that page doesn’t work. It asks me to try again later and that has been where I’ve been stuck at, for two weeks.
Oh and I did report it to the police in case anyone was wondering. They were of no help, but I didn’t expect they would be, I’m sure this happens hundreds if times a day.
All this makes me wonder; Is having a Social Media presence really worth the effort?
If you have been trying to contact me via my Facebook page, which for some reason is still live and working, since I can’t log into it, I can’t see my messages and obviously can’t reply to them.
To rub salt into the wound, I still get notifications on my phone when messages come in from my page so I know there’s been many people trying to reach me, not knowing that I have no way of accessing anything there.
For now, I have no social presence and the best way to get in touch is by phone or to email me at email@example.com
If I manage to get it back up again, I’ll update everyone otherwise, if I don’t and they delete me (11 days to go now) I’ll start new accounts and post them up on my blog!
Dave shoots for Speed Media Image Agency, a professional photo agency providing coverage of all sports, events and photojournalism. We photograph for international, national and local media agents, including Getty Images, Icon Sportswire, AP, News Corp, The Times, ESPN and CNN. We have a team of commercial photographers ready to shoot for sport teams and sponsors.