Had a bit of high drama today. My Facebook account got hacked by a scammer. I got an email from Facebook asking me to confirm the change to my email address. I knew straight away I’d been hacked. When I followed the link to cancel the email change, I couldn’t log in to Facebook.
I thought that shit only happened to other people!
While I was scrambling around trying to find the best way of reporting it, The ‘other me’ was busy chatting to all my Facebook friends telling them that I’d been mugged at gunpoint in London and I was compeltely freaked and needed money to pay for my hotel and a flight home. The funny thing is I never chat, so it took me a minute to even notice the chat window after I got control of my Facebook again (took about 3 hours after I reported it).
Unfortunately I didn’t think to save all the chat histories straight away, they seem to disappear when people close Facebook. One friend said the scammer got quite aggressive when she asked him how I/he knew her. Another friend sent me an email asking me something unrelated, trying to figure out if the other one was me or not, (sounds like an episode of Star Trek, with two William Shatner’s fighting each other – and you only know the real one by the hammiest acting).
Another friend, who had his suspicions right from the start sent on his chat which was amusing enough;
hey john, need help with…?
I’m stuck in London England
I feel your pain
well…I had a visit to a resort in London and i got mugged
it was so scary and i have been freaked out
where are you now?
I lodged in a hotell but im in a library as we speak
I have contacted the Irish Embassy but they told me to get a flight ticket back to Ireland
the problem now is that the cash i got on me for my return ticket got stolen….
I need your help?
you want me to buy a London to Dublin ticket for you?
Don’t bother about that…you can just have the money sent to me and I’ll sort everything out by myself
you want me to wire you cash?
Reason…I got to settle the hotel bills and the hotel accept cash for now cos their credit card machine is faulty
so where should I send the money?
alright…you can have it sent to my name and my present location
John Braine….United Kingdom
do I not need more details?
you don’t need more…that is all you need
Do you know any western union outlet nearest to you?
how do I send it, western union or something?
I don’t need to give an office number, or anything like that?
you don’t need that
how will I know if it gets to you?
as soon as you have sent the money, they will issue you a confirmation
so you will send me the confirmation and I’ll use it to pick up the money at the western union outlet
Do you know any western union outlet nearest to you?
it will probably be a few hours, I’ll have to go on my lunch
when will you be back? cos i might not be online on FB…
you can just drop me a message via email address
here’s my email address below
How much can you afford to loan me?
I need 500 euros…
I promise to return it as soon as im back in town
I think I’ll get a ham sandwich for lunch
June 24, 2009, 9:56 am
That’s brilliant. ‘I lodged in a hotell’ 🙂
June 24, 2009, 10:12 am
Ah, Western Union. the money-transfer method of choice for the 419 scammer…
June 24, 2009, 10:51 am
Ham sandwich? Class – that’s hilarious. Glad you got back from London ok! 🙂
June 24, 2009, 12:27 pm
It went on for a couple of hours, and he didn’t cop on to the increasingly heavy hints I was dropping…
“you could send me the money through the Western union website”
“oh, I don’t know about that. I don’t trust the internet – too much phishing, fraud, identity theft…”
“which station did you report your mugging to?”
“really? My boss knows someone there. Tell you what – you let me know which library you’re posting from, and I’ll ask them to send a squad car around with the money”
(he also said that the library was very scary and he was freaked out, so I asked him if they still had their halloween decorations up)
He was too traumatised by the incident to remember anything about EP (while the real John is too traumatised to forget), and didn’t bat an eye when I said it would take a while to get to the Western union, because I’m in a wheelchair
Eventually I said “Hang on, why don’t you just get a bus over to meet me – we could do lunch and I’ll give you the money” “But I’m in London” “That’s not what your wife said when I spoke to her an hour ago”
and suddenly John was gone from my friends page…
June 24, 2009, 8:24 pm
Love Ray’s addition.
June 24, 2009, 10:09 pm
Hi Anthony – yep that was my favourite (least likely thing for me to say) line.
Justin – yep top of the list on scambusters:
Dave, Xbox; agreed – Ray, that’s hilarious! (I’ve since changed your name from xxx to Ray in the post). EP – jeez me and Rog still can’t have a pint without moaning about that place!
June 27, 2009, 8:37 am
That is terrible, but i think its something that will be more common in time.
The biggest other issue is that if a spammer gets into one of your friends accounts and starts adding your friends and if you dont have your privacy settings set high enough they can get access to your profile information.
The other point is that it can be easy for scammers to check your friends and how you know each other, but for the average scammer who gets access to your account from a internet cafe much less likely.
July 2, 2009, 2:25 pm
As we speak, my Facebook account is ‘occupied’ by probably the same person. 🙁 he got in last night, fed some contacts a load of baloney about my being mugged at gunpoint. I got the account back, and the bastard (sorry) got back in last night.
Facebook are investigating. Maddening!
July 2, 2009, 4:34 pm
This is brilliant stuff, the ending is hilarious. It realy is one of those things you think only happens to other people. I wonder what their success rate is?
July 2, 2009, 8:24 pm
This is happening to me right now as we speak…one of my friends was actually driving to give them money when i got a hold of her…can you believe that shit?
July 2, 2009, 11:35 pm
Hi David – yeah I get the feeling this guy was just in a cafer going after the quick buck.
DaddyorChips – wow cheeky bastard going back for seconds! I assume you changed your facebook and email password straight away even after getting anew one from Facebook? Weird.
Inferno, yikes another one, seems pretty rife at the moment. Feels a bit weird doesn’t it?
Nathalie – it turned out to be very amusing. Wouldn’t have been if anyone fell for it though! Nice healthy reminder for me to tighten up security and bton down the hatches!
/ Inferno – yikes! Seems prety rife at the moment.
August 7, 2009, 5:38 pm
If anyone’s interested, this story will be in the Sunday times this weekend.
August 31, 2009, 4:27 am
This happened to me today – same thing. My boss tried to tell this person that someone can meet them at Heathrow or Gatwick airport and then they suddenly de friended him..
but how are they going t catch this guy?????
August 31, 2009, 8:04 pm
I’ve been hacked as of Saturday night. Same thing…in London, mugged…but I can’t get a responce from Facebook. I filed out the 419 report form and was instantly sent an email from the FB team…
Please reply to this email to verify that you are the owner of the account that you referenced in your Facebook support inquiry. This security step must be completed before Facebook can respond to your inquiry. We apologize for any inconvenience.
If this email address is not associated with your account, please reply to this email from an email address that is associated with your Facebook account, ensuring that this email is in your response (this may require you to copy and paste this text if your email client removes this email from your reply).
The Facebook Team
I have not heard back from them…not even a “we are investigating”. Sounds like some people got it fixed quickly. Any hints on getting through to Facebook faster???
July 22, 2010, 6:24 pm
my FB has been phished in a 419 scam not too unlike the story herein. how long will it be before facebook reups my profile? Gmail took 2 days; I’m on day 5 w/out a fb. I’m so impatient. what can I do to make this reenstatement happen ASAP?
August 31, 2009, 9:07 pm
Hi Dar. I went through the exact same process. Took about 3 hours from when I reported it. I didn’t get another reply until they sorted it out. Then they sent me anothr password.
Only other thing I can recommend is to mail everyone in your address book. That’s the only time I’ve ver done that.
Bernie – yep I imagine thye’d be pretty ahrd to catch alright.
September 1, 2009, 7:30 am
I’ve changed my email password on Charter…do you think that is enough? It doesn’t appear that anyone was sent an email…it was all in the chat session. Also, I see on the FB security site that you should check for Malware after a hack…why would I need to do that? I didn’t think this came from my computer like the Koobface worm would.
September 1, 2009, 7:32 am
Oh and my FB account was temp suspended…seems they got my 419 scam report. Should I reactivate the same account, start over or nix Facebook all together. Will I now be a target for another hack?
September 1, 2009, 9:01 am
Yep mine was all in the chat window too. I meant that I sent eveyone a mail to tell them what was going on.
Yes in my case it was absolutely nothing to do with malware or a virus. A shop I used had their database hacked, and my password for that shop happened to be the same for Facebook. So just make sure you don’t use the same password for anything else and you’ll should be fine. Well… I can’t know for sure what happened with you. But I know that’s how I got hacked.
December 14, 2009, 12:59 am
how did u finally get your facebook acct back? the same thing happened to me , and they suspended my acct,how long does it take to get it back , and how do u get it back working?
December 14, 2009, 9:05 pm
FB security should send you an email with a link to reset your password (to a different one) within a day or two. Make sure you use upper/lower case letters, symbols and numbers in your new password.
January 22, 2010, 11:00 am
February 25, 2010, 7:52 pm
same thing happened to me. they contacted me via my relatives fb account chat window. i strung them along for several hours while i tried to notify local police, fbi and western union. fb disabled my account and i can’t get them to send any kind of response back to reactivate my account or even acknowledge my 419 report. very frustrated. i advertise with them and am very disappointed that i cannot reach anyone to assure me that i am not being billed for advertising when i can’t access my account.
February 25, 2010, 7:59 pm
It took a day for them to respond. FB was very helpful in fixing the problem. My only issue now is that the hacker created a yahoo mail account with my full name and yahoo wont delete it. Have your relatives look on your profile page to see what the hacker changed your email to. Then go to that server and have it deleted.
February 25, 2010, 8:19 pm
my friends are asking where i went on fb so it looks like they disabled both my relative’s and my fb accounts.
February 25, 2010, 8:40 pm
the hack prob “de-friended” everyone who was catching on…that’s what happened to me.
March 29, 2010, 7:34 pm
my uncle is a cop he can kill him 3:)
May 13, 2010, 11:29 pm
hi i had 1,800k then i played poker with that on facebook and i went up to 36mill and then the next day i went on and it was all gone can some one get it back for me becouse that is not right that some one can hack and take it thats wrong
May 15, 2010, 9:24 pm
Please i want someone to briefly explain to me how this scammers hacks people’s account, how they get their passwords and do those kind of nasty 419 of theirs; anyway i don’t blame Nigeria i rather blame maddoff cos he is the brain behind all scams; not neglecting facebook for all this shame. Please anyone to explain to me is welcome to write me on [email protected]. Thank you!
May 17, 2010, 11:40 am
Hi Debel. In my case, the database of a computer shop I used was hacked into and shared on the web. My email address and password on that database was the same for Facebook. Also happened with Ireland’s most popular forum boards.ie recently. See https://www.johnbraine.com/2010/01/life-password-overhaul.html
September 4, 2010, 1:58 am
ok same thing happened to me two days ago, I know exactly who did it I even notified facebook, i also posted for others not to respond to any messages I sent. Facebook has not responded to me whatsoever except to block my account and rudely ignore me. I can see it taking a bit to fix but I took all the steps they said to restore my account and have now sent them 5 replys to their stupid common letter and they still have not responded to me. I realize this is a problem but I mean two days later no response no kiss my ash etc. Come on facebook do your job keep these idiots out and fix your security problems also fix my stupid account or at least respond to me.
February 7, 2011, 10:41 pm
Same thing here. 419 scam reported 02/01/2011. Password changed that day. FB disabled account 02/03/2011. I have followed their “canned” messages and gotten nothing from them since 02/04/2011. Despite sending follow ups. BBB.org complaint filed against FB. I have no other ideas on how to activate the account.
February 7, 2011, 11:21 pm
Hmmm…that’s longer than it took me to be “reinstated”. They sent me an email with a link to change my password and “fix” my profile. Just make sure you tell all the friends you can to post on your wall stating not to reply to any “chats”. The hacker will de-friend them but once your back online, it will be ok. I’ve not had any problems since the hack. Just make sure to put a REALLY difficult password in next time.