Update: 26 Nov 2019.
Hey guys, here’s an update on my earlier post regarding my hacked Facebook page.
Finally, my report on this page got some traction and within 24 hours of the report, Facebook restored my admin privileges and booted the scammers out.
I have since added all the necessary security protocols, changed passwords, etc.
On the page, I’ve cleaned up their irrelevant videos and it’s business as usual with IKEA hacks. On the group, I’ve approved the many pending posts.
Some have DMed me and asked how this happened. Falling into a scam is a scary and frustrating thing, so I want to let everyone know how the scammers worked.
Scam modus operandi
I received an email from an agency called AdFireFly. They posed as advertisers who wanted to post a series of ads on my Facebook page. I was invited to have a chat with their representation via Facebook Messenger. At the end of the chat, which appeared professional and legit, he said he’ll guide me through the setting up of an account on Facebook’s Business Manager platform from which the ads will be served. He then sent me a link via Messenger. And I did the silliest thing — click on that link to set up the account.
Facebook does have a legitimate Business Manager platform but what I didn’t realise then was, I was inadvertently adding my Page onto their Business Manager account, not my own. And that was how they got me.
(Rest assured my other social accounts — Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and the IKEAhackers website — as well as email were not compromised.)
Then the horror …
After I realised I was scammed, I tried to remove my Page from their account. But by then, it was not possible.
The thing is once you add a Page to the Business Manager account, the account is automatically listed as Page Owners. And, get this, Page Owners have more privileges than the Admin. This is a huge loophole I believe Facebook has not sufficiently warned their users — that there is another avenue (not through the regular Page settings) for someone to set themselves up on your Page.
Thankfully, they were not able to remove me completely from the backend, but reduced my role from Admin to Analyst (which can only comment and look at the ad numbers).
Without admin privileges, my hands were tied. They had free reign on my Page and started posting their videos. I believe they sold ad impressions to video channel owners — telling them they could get them X amount of views for X amount of dollars. If they were to go through the proper advertising channel on Facebook, they would have to pay for each view. But if they hijack FB Pages, they could get in front of an audience and post videos for free. That’s my conjecture. They may be making money in ways I know nothing of.
By then I had no idea when I would recover my Page, if ever. And I was worried for my followers. I didn’t know what they would post on the page or how they would exploit the Page followers. Which was why I asked people to unfollow for their safety. (Please stop unfollowing now. :D)
Reporting to Facebook
Trying to get Facebook to take action is not easy, to put it mildly. But there are people working behind all that tech. It just takes a lot of time and patience to weed through all the possible channels.
This one worked for me. (I believe it worked because my second FB account was still listed on the Page backend. If you were booted off the Page completely, it may be a harder recourse.)
A friend connected me to someone at Facebook and I will be emailing him regarding this. I hope Facebook will be able to pinpoint the scammers and take action. (The scammers are illusive and I believe the FB accounts used to introduce themselves and DM me were fake.)
No matter how it goes, let’s be vigilant with our personal information. I certainly am a lot more now.
If you own a Facebook page, I would recommend these steps to secure it:
- Set up 2 Factor Authentication
- Set up strong passwords
- Have two or more trusted admin accounts on your page. I had 2 admin accounts on my page. The first account (the one that was compromised) has been disabled by FB to date and I don’t foresee being able to restore it. I relied on the second admin account to retrieve my admin privileges.
- Set up your Facebook Business Manager account and add your page to your account to stop anyone from doing so.
All in all, I’m very glad it all blew over in 7 days. Prayers, friends and community kept things in perspective.
Special shoutouts to all who helped report the hacked Facebook page. I believe you played a part in escalating my report.
Thank you for all the messages and emails. They kept me going and fighting.
Love you guys. Always.
Original post announcing my hacked Facebook Page:
Long story short, I basically clicked a phishing linked that invited me to open a Business Manager Account on Facebook. And they got my login details, set themselves up as Page Owner and locked me out.
Lesson here: If you have a Facebook page, don’t leave the Page Owner option open, as once they set themselves up as the Page Owner, they have more “authority” than an Admin and you can’t boot them off easily.
I know, it’s almost funny that a “DIY hack” account gets “Tech hacked”. In between the frenzy of trying to figure it out, contact someone (anyone!), I find myself laughing at the irony. Good thing I still have my sense of humour.
After the initial shock that it has happened to me, I’m waiting to see if Facebook will reinstate my access and my account. I am hitting walls on trying to report to Facebook regarding the breach. No form or contact email that I can write in to tell the powers that be at Facebook of the situation. Everywhere I looked just sent me into Account Hacked page over and over again to reset my password. If anyone knows how to regain access to their account or knows someone I can speak / write to, please, please, please do let me know.
Group members’ post – paused
For members in the Group, I am so sorry, as your posts need to be approved before they appear, so until I get access, it probably will not be posted.
The worst part of this situation is that I have no way to inform the followers and members of what has happened, unless they read this post. I have added some photos with text explaining the situation in the comments but the scammers can easily hide or delete them.
The scammers have started posting their own content, probably for ad views. (Status says: “This guy’s work is very impressive!” and “How to build a beautiful slab table” with links that lead to videos.)
They have nothing to do with me or IKEA hacking.
And 400K+ Facebook followers think it’s me — spamming them with irrelevant content. Or that I’ve ignored my group members and not approved their posts or answered their questions. This pains me.
If you have friends who are followers or community members, please let them know. I really wish there is another way but I have no way to access the list of members. Please share this news because I don’t want others to fall prey.
Why don’t people do the hard work and gain their own followers instead of stealing them?
So if you’re a follower on Facebook, please unfollow the page. Click on the “Following” button and then “Unfollow this Page”.
I have no idea what they will do with the content or your information. And I feel it may be unsafe for your personal information to continue following the hacked Facebook Page. For now.
I really want to regain access and kick them in the teeth. May the good guys win. I’ll keep you guys updated. Stay tuned.