‘I never dreamed that it could just be erased in a day’: Hacked Facebook accounts can be costly for victims

OVIEDO, Fla. — An Oviedo mom claims her identity and life memories were stolen when her Facebook account was hacked.

She contacted Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich, who discovered these hacks can turn into costly scams.

“I mean these are, this is me, it’s my memories, it’s my family,” Kristen Hodges said.

Like many of us, Hodges shared life moments on Facebook with friends and family. To Hodges it was a virtual scrapbook she could show her kids when they got older, and losing access to her digital memories was devastating.

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“I never dreamed that it could just be erased in a day, you know, overnight,” Hodges said.

She received an email making her aware that someone had tried logging into her Facebook account.

Hodges said when she clicked on the link to dispute it, it was too late. “The person that got into my account changed the email associated with my account, so I couldn’t even reset it to any contact of mine.”

Once scammers steal your Facebook account, they can also target your list of friends, acting as you to con them out of money.

“I was vulnerable at the time,” Margaret Taylor said.

Taylor paid $1,200 to scammers that promised a $100,000 grant.

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She said messages sent from her friend’s hacked account were very convincing.

Taylor said one of the messages read, “Oh, I got this money and I applied for this and they sent it right away.”

Eva Velasquez with the Identity Theft Resource Center says hackers can also demand you pay to recover your own Facebook page.

“I’m going to take your data, your account, your property hostage then I’m going to ask you to pay to get it back,” Velasquez said, describing what hackers may do.

Velasquez says consumers should protect their social media accounts with multifactor authentication.

“If they don’t have your device or access to your email, they can’t enter the code, they can’t take over the account,” Velasquez said.

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Ulrich contacted Facebook and managers said the company is working to restore Hodges’ page.

Facebook has said it has protocols in place to protect user accounts.

“I don’t know how they’re helping people that this happens to, but they sure haven’t helped me,” Hodges said.

If you feel your identity has been compromised, be sure to contact the Federal Trade Commission and don’t use your Facebook login to sign into other sites.

Todd Ulrich, WFTV.com

I am WFTV's Action 9 Reporter.