This morning I got an email notification from Facebook to the tune of “Someone has Logged into your Facebook Account… was it you?” I took another swig of my coffee and then realized “No, it wasn’t me!” Just then <Ding>. Another message from Facebook – We’ve Updated Your Password (uh oh). <Ding> Thanks for Changing your Account Email (well at least they were polite), and then the final punch in the gut – <Ding> Your Phone Number Has Been Updated.
You’d think that with the degree of security algorithms that are used to make big tech websites like Facebook, some alarm would sound when the email, password, and phone are changed within seconds of an unauthorized access. I mean that would make sense, right? You thought wrong.
Moments after Muhammded Enver Elali (or at least that’s what they changed their name to) gained access to my Facebook account I was already locked out. Possibly forever.
So no big deal, right? Many of us had a life before on demand cat pics and cooking videos presumably for tiny people. To me, this was more – the page of my small business was connected to my Facebook account. Guess what the hacker’s next move was? Hijacking my business page and deleting all of it’s administrative users.
Facebook Should Help
My business is a CPR and First Aid training center and we have been in service for over 11 years. We depend on word of mouth to get many of our customers in the door and have built an excellent reputation – over 4,100 likes on Facebook, 4.8 stars on over 70 reviews, and are passionate about sharing lifesaving information as soon as the latest studies land.
Our team has spent tens of thousands of dollars on marketing using Facebook. I realize that’s only a drop in the bucket for Facebook but for us represents a huge investment and financial risk.
Once you get hacked, you get the email notifications I described before. There’s a link in those emails to say “No it wasn’t me” and lock down your account. With the email address of my account changed within moments of the access, I would only wind up sending a password reset request to the hacker. So I got nowhere with Facebooks “My Account Has Been Hacked” form.
Next step was to try to make contact by email. I searched all over Google and eventually found the email address email@example.com – no response.
After a couple hours I then tried to find a phone number for Facebook. Knowing they are a publicly traded company I decided to check their SEC filings to see if it listed a phone number. Sure enough I got it! The phone number for Facebook customer support is (650) 543-4800. When you dial it, you’re connected to an automated message that asks you to press “1” for customer support. When you dial “1” the automated message says, sorry we don’t offer phone support – go to our website and click help. Back to where I started!
After some more searching I found a form that is used to verify your identity. I thought “Perfect! I can prove that I’m not Muhammded!” I completed the form and sent in a copy of my South Carolina drivers license. An hour later I get an email from Facebook! Could it be the information I’m waiting for? Someone helping to lend me a hand? No. The message thanked Muhammded for verifying his identification on Facebook and that the account had now been updated.
I did notice that this email had a generated case number so I tried to reach out and explain what happened, praying that there be a human on the other end. The response back was to visit the Facebook.com/hacked link – which by now I had attempted about 100 times and surely filled my hacker’s inbox with more verification codes than he will ever need.
As I’m quickly losing hope that this is for good, I finally decided to try my last resorts – find someone that works at Facebook on LinkedIn that has a mutual friend and beg for mercy. So that’s what I’ve done. And hopefully Michael who knows Jason who I played kickball with has a heart and gets back to me. My wife has also reached out to one of her favorite podcasts “Reply All” to see if the super tech support staff there want to investigate Facebook’s disreputable behavior towards this and other small business owners.
Wish us luck!
We are back in control of our Facebook Page!! One of our Page Admins got a notification about a strange login on his Facebook account today. He indicated that it wasn’t him and they gave him the option to reset his password. On the next page it allowed him to reset his Facebook Pages for Business. When he clicked that, it restored access to our entire group of Page Admins. We rushed onto the site and removed my account so that the hacker would no longer have access.
My personal login is still under hacker control. There has still been no response from Facebook. I’m doubtful that we will hear back from them to get this resolved.