Have you ever wondered how much social media could destroy your life? I have always considered Facebook as a safe forum for people to share photos, thought for the day or keeping in touch with your loved ones. I do not feel the same way after my experience. Here is my story.
On Friday, August 28 2020, I received a message from a friend of mine on Facebook. She was talking to me about a grant by what was supposedly the IMF (International Money Fund). This fund was for helping people get through rough times due to the covid-19. She continued telling me about it and sent a link to an Agent Mary Boyle. I do not remember clicking on the link, but much to my surprise I wasn’t actually talking to my friend, but a scammer. When I realized it was a scammer I quickly changed my password and logged out. But the scammer had beaten me to the punch and had changed the email to the account then changed the password. I received a message from the scammer asking why I changed my password. I found that odd. How did they know I had changed the password? This scammer was offering me $50,000 if I would give them $1,000. The money would be at my door in 5 hours after I bought Google Play gift cards as payment. I refused any exchange of currency with the scammer.
Later in the day, I got text messages from friends asking if everything was OK because I was messaging people off my Facebook friends list asking for money to help my daughter with my grandson’s cancer treatment. My grandson does not have any medical condition. I told my friends and family to notified Facebook that my account had been hacked and then to unfriend and block my account. With dozens of people doing this including my ex-husband I thought that Facebook’s security team would deactivate the account as I assumed Facebook would not want their business associated with con artists. To my surprise Facebook ignored the security notifications.
I created another Facebook account and looked for a phone number for Facebook. In searching through the Facebook forums I found a phone number that a helpful Facebook user posted for support. The post had been made a couple of years ago so I thought it was legit. When I called the person on the other end of the phone was more than willing to help me with getting me back into my account. What a relief! They gave me a name and identification number. They asked for remote entry into my account so I downloaded the app they asked me to do. I could see them trying to access my phone with codes I was getting. They said the hacker was blocking them and I needed to go get two $100 Google Play cards for them to block the hackers. This raised a red flag. The what I thought was a support agent threatened me when I said No. I told them that I was going to contact the Police. They told me they already had contacted them on my behalf. I asked for the officer’s name and badge number. They gave me the name if Officer John Smith. So I told them I believed I was speaking to someone trying to scam me and they threatened me with telling the police I was involved in collecting money for my grandson and that I was defrauding people. I disconnected the call.
Now a scammer had to access my phone I wasn’t sure what information they got off the device. Immediately I removed my credit card and banking apps. I drove to the bank and explained what had happened and I changed the email to my accounts as well as the bank cards. I called the local police department and they took the information and said there is an ongoing investigation.
I explained to the police while on the phone with the person I believe worked for Facebook, they wanted Google Play cards. I continuously said no. They then threatened me saying they were going to tell the authorities that I was the one collecting money and it would be traced to IP address. I was starting to get scared that I could somehow take the fall for such a horrible crime.
This has been an eye opener for me. I feel violated and vulnerable because these people have access to my grandbabies. They have my memories that are now going to be taken from me when Facebook gets around to shutting down my account (at this point it’s been over two weeks and the account is still active). I’m not sure what to do. My account has been reported hundreds of times and still is active. I decided to take it to Facebook on Twitter. I got no response from Facebook. Doesn’t Facebook take something like this seriously? I did get a response from a guy calling himself prohacker that for a couple hundred dollars would hack into Facebook and fix the problem. Likely another scam I’m thinking.
I would like to advise anyone who uses Facebook or any other social media, please be aware of whom you are adding to your account. If you do not know them personally don’t allow them access to your social media accounts because God knows what they are doing with them.