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North Texas woman seeks help after social media hacking – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

NBC 5 Responds to a North Texas Facebook user trying to get back control of her Facebook account. She said a stranger took it over and has been posting from her page for weeks.

So far, the consumer said Facebook hasn’t helped.


Amy Wollin said she first suspected something was wrong when the fitness instructor tried to pull up her Facebook page back in May.

“I was going to post something about one of my classes. It said an error occurred,” Wollin recalled.

Wollin said she tried to reset her password but couldn’t because someone changed the email address associated with her Facebook account.

“I knew right then that somebody had hacked into my account and I needed to work quickly,” Wollin said.

While Wollin was locked out of her account, someone continued to post from her page. First, the stranger posted a Christmas selfie of Wollin’s family with a new caption Wollin did not write. Then, they began posting solicitations to trade cryptocurrency.

“I don’t know what their endgame is,” Wollin said. “That’s the scary part. This could just be a precursor to something worse.”

Since the account takeover in mid-May, Wollin said she’s reported the hack to Facebook and asked friends to do the same. Wollin said she submitted her driver’s license photo, hoping to prove her identity.

“I’ve been trying, but because Facebook doesn’t offer any support, you can’t contact Facebook,” Wollin told NBC 5.

Wollin said she remains locked out of the page she’d had for years.

Facebook’s online help center says if someone gains access to your account or creates an account pretending to be you or someone else, it wants to help. It encourages users to let Facebook know. It also asks users to follow its guided help tool to try to get their accounts back.

NBC 5 Responds reached out to Facebook and its parent company Meta about Wollin’s account and her efforts to connect with someone who could help. We have not heard back.


Eva Velasquez with the Identify Theft Resource Center said social media account takeovers across platforms, including Facebook, are a growing problem.

“She’s right to be concerned,” Velasquez said when NBC 5 reached out about Wollin’s case.

The ITRC said it logged 1,829 complaints last year. A sharp increase from 41 complaints in 2020.

Velasquez said many social media users reported they had to walk away from their accounts permanently because they couldn’t get back in.

“The reality is it’s very, very hard to get a response from the platforms,” said Velasquez. “We really need them to step up and put more resources into helping legitimate account owners both protect their accounts, but also recover them when they are taken over.”

Velasquez points out recovery may be made more difficult, in part, because social media accounts are relatively easy to set up in the first place.

“You provided an email address, you set up the account with a username and password, and then off you went. So, proving that you were the actual owner when there isn’t a basis to compare it to is very, very challenging,” explained Velasquez.

It’s one of the reasons Velasquez said she pushes prevention. Social media users can start by strengthening passwords. The ITRC recommends at least 12 characters that include symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters.

Use a unique password for each account and set login alerts. Enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication to require a security code if someone logs in from an unrecognized browser or device.

Apply those tips to the email account linked to your social media accounts.

Users should also backup photos and videos. Save them somewhere else so you don’t lose them if something happens to a social media account.

If you are hacked, you can try Facebook’s online help center. It has information on resetting your password and securing your account.

If that doesn’t help, the ITRC said the only way to resolve a concern is through the platform itself. It recommends persistence in reporting a hack.

Also, let your contacts know not to engage with the hacked account and ask them to spread the word.


Wollin said she doesn’t know how someone was able to get into her account, accessing her photos, contacts and community.

“If it’s happened to you, you need to speak up and not think it’s no big deal,” said Wollin.

“I think it is a big deal,” she added.

NBC 5 Responds is committed to researching your concerns and recovering your money. Our goal is to get you answers and, if possible, solutions and a resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out our customer complaint form.


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