A large number of fraudulent messages claiming to be from Facebook customer service representatives or automated customer service systems have recently been reported to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection Bureau of Consumer Protection (DATCP). . These messages claim that a recipient’s Facebook account has been hacked, stolen, or disabled, and urge them to click on a link to recover their account. If the link is opened, users are prompted to “log in” to a website that looks very similar to Facebook but is actually a convincing fake set up by scammers to steal account information.
This practice is known as a phishing scam and can target specific individuals or thousands of people at once. Recent Facebook-related phishing attempts usually arrive via email, text or Facebook private messages. Similar phishing scams can occur through Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Groups, a friend’s hacked Facebook account, Instagram or WhatsApp. If you receive an unsolicited message that your Facebook or other social media account has been compromised:
- Do not reply to the message, call or text a number provided in the message.
- Do not provide any of your account information or passwords.
- Do not click on any links or open any attachments in the message. These may contain viruses or malware that could be installed on your device without your permission or knowledge.
- If you click on a link in a suspicious message, you may want to have your device scanned for viruses and malware at a reputable computer or cellphone repair facility. Change your passwords on a separate, secure device as soon as possible.
Users should not panic or feel intimidated if they receive these messages about compromised accounts, as Facebook will never contact users via SMS or private message. If users are unsure whether an email is legitimate, they should check the sender’s address to make sure it’s an official Facebook account. They can also hover over links in the email message without clicking or opening them to see the web address they lead to. Facebook users concerned that their account may be compromised can ask for help at facebook.com/hacked. Although Facebook is the most spoofed social media platform for phishing attempts due to the popularity of the social media platform, it is not the only one scammers use.
For more information and consumer protection resources or to file a complaint, visit the DATCP’s Consumer Protection webpage at ConsumerProtection.wi.gov. If you have questions or believe you have been the victim of a scam, report it by calling the DATCP Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-422-7128 or emailing [email protected] .